Newark is making progress to address the high levels of lead in the city's drinking water suppl. From the start of 2017 through the end of 2019, Newark exceeded the federal lead standard in six consecutive monitoring periods prompting the city to give out bottled water and distribute water filters. According to new test results, the levels have dropped significantly, Mayor Ras Baraka credits orthophosphate for the low lead levels, the chemical that’s being added to the city’s water supply.
“We’re so excited, we’re so happy that our numbers are below fifteen parts per billion, because we’ve been doing work, and what does that say, it says that the orthophosphate works.”
Officials also blamed the problem on aging lead pipes, so far the city has replaced nearly thirteen thousand of its more than eighteen thousand lead lines. The Natural Resource Defense Council sued the city over the elevated lead levels in 2018. That lawsuit is ongoing.