NJ Officials Unsure Why Filters Failed To Remove Lead In Newark Water

Aug 14, 2019

Governor Phil Murphy is calling on the federal government to help with the lead crisis in Newark and other municipalities in New Jersey.
Credit Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey officials say its unclear why samples of drinking water in Newark exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency's standards for allowable levels of lead, even as those homes used EPA certified water filters.  

Of the three recent samples of water taken from Newark homes, only one came back with levels of lead reduced to the EPA's standard.  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says she's meeting with federal officials to discuss what steps should be taken beyond handing out bottles of water to residents.

"The EPA is as surprised as we are,” McCabe said.  “These PUR filters were used in Flint.  They did a big study in Flint to show that these filters were effective, even at higher levels like what they had in Flint which are not like the levels we have here in Newark."

Mayor Ras Baraka says there's more testing to be done.

"We absolutely do not have enough information one way or the other to determine whether the filters are working or not.  In the meantime, we're going to give out water until we're able to make those determinations," Baraka said.

Touring a Newark water distribution center, Governor Phil Murphy said there's no way municipalities across the country can deal with lead contamination in drinking water without support from the federal government.