Newark Implements New System To Reduce Lead Levels In City Water

May 7, 2019

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka NJ DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe and Interim Director of the Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities Kareem Adeem announce new water treatment system at City Hall.
Credit Alexandra Hill / News

Officials in Newark say a new water treatment process has been implemented in an effort to reduce elevated lead levels in the drinking water that have affected city residents for more than two years 

The city acknowledged the widespread lead problem last October when a study found treatment failures at the city’s Pequannock water plant, that services nearly every part of the city, and sells to surrounding towns, including Bloomfield, Belleville and Nutley.

Mayor Ras Baraka says the city has switched its corrosion control treatment and is mixing a new chemical into the water called orthophosphate that will create a protective coating inside pipelines to prevent lead from leaching off into the water. 

“We are introducing it and in a few months, we are prayerful that we will see the lead levels continue to drop.”

In addition Baraka says Newark has handed out more than 36,000 water filters to affected residents and has launched a $75 million dollar lead service line replacement program to remove more than 15,000 lead pipelines. New Jersey DEP commissioner Catherine McCabe

“New Jersey DEP will continue of course to work with the city and to work with them and to monitor those efforts.”

The city is urging resident to continue filter use until the new system has fully stabilized which could take up to six months.