'The DEP is coming for you.’ Officials investigate water that may have been improperly replaced in Newark
The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection says there is no reason to panic after three water service lines in Newark were found to have lead in them.
“Corrosion control is in place. People can have confidence in the safety of the water in Newark,” Sean LaTourette told News 12 New Jersey.
The commissioner wants to put Newark residents’ minds at ease about three lead service lines that were supposed to have been fully replaced.
“Quite frankly, someone didn’t do their job,” LaTourette says.
He says the DEP will eventually name the contractors responsible and hold them accountable.
"You should be aware, the DEP is coming for you,” he says.
The parts in the three service lines in question were supposed to have been completely swapped out as part of a massive undertaking that started in 2019 and led to 18,000 lead service lines being replaced in Newark.
News 12 New Jersey crews went back to a neighborhood we visited several years ago along Eastern Parkway to speak with residents about their concerns.
"We use the water regularly, I have no problem,” says resident Doreen Simms-Brown.
Simms-Brown recalls all too well that time when her family was forced to use bottled water and a filtration system. As well as when the crews dug up her front yard and replaced the lead piping.
Her family has since tested the water and it has come back lead-free.
Newark resident Vincent says that he still drinks bottled water.
“I don’t know if it is completely cleared or not, I don’t know. Things done by people are not perfect,” he said.
The DEP will look at other homes to make sure the work was done correctly.
No contractors have been named and there is no timetable for when that information will be released.
Homeowners who have any concerns are urged to have their water tested for lead.