Lead Testing

Ang Santos / WBGO

The city of Newark has taken several major steps in recent weeks towards replacing lead service lines in homes.  Essex County issued a 120-million-dollar bond for the city to speed up the process.  And Mayor Ras Baraka recently announced a lease deal made with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 155 million dollars to help pay for it.

Baraka says Newark is the only city in New Jersey with a plan to fix every lead service line.

On the latest edition of the show, Gov. Murphy speaks with WNYC’s Nancy Solomon about the tap water situation in Newark. The Governor emphasizes that it’s not just a local problem but a national crisis, with so many towns and cities using old lead pipes.

The Governor also addresses storm preparedness for Dorian, his endoresement of US Senator Cory Booker of NJ for president, and the American Dream Meadowlands shopping center.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The City of Newark is set to replace up to 1,500 lead service lines over the next year. 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says the state will work with Newark to replace roughly 15,000 lead service lines.  The Lead Service Line Replacement Program is expected to cost about $75 million over eight years.

“At his point our infrastructure is decaying, and these pipes need to be replaced with newer, safer, and more reliable materials, but that’s expensive,” she said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A recent independent study of Newark’s water supply showed a portion of the system as ineffective against preventing lead exposure to residents.   

“Those folks that are affected in areas of the city will be getting a filter until we put the right chemical to provide the necessary corrosion control in people’s lead service line’s, so they won’t be affected by the lead that enters into their water at all,” Mayor Ras Baraka said.

In 2016, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Newark Public Schools sent out a joint statement calling for additional testing, monitoring and remediation of Newark's water supply in schools after discovering levels of lead that exceed the allowable state and federal levels. The city says they are complying with recommendations to address lead in Newark's water. Two groups have filed a lawsuit against the city claiming enough hasn't been done.  

NJ Lawmaker Wants Changes In Lead Testing Procedures

Aug 22, 2017

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change how water providers respond when they find elevated levels of lead in the system.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says current law requires a utility that finds high lead concentrations to send a letter to residents, but not municipalities and school districts.

"You'd want that because so often these municipalities have reverse 911 systems. They can hopefully provide additional information or coordinate a response to make sure that residents are protected."