Newark distributing water filters to residents with lead service lines

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Anthony Johnson reports on the distribution of water filters to Newark residents.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Friday that water filters will be distributed to city properties known to have or suspected of having lead service lines.

Baraka was joined by Water and Sewer Utilities director Andrea Adebowale and Department of Health and Community Wellness director Dr. Mark Wade to detail the program, after the city received the results of a Lead and Copper Rule Compliance Study last week that showed that the corrosion controls presently used in a portion of the system are no longer effective.

The study recommended that the city implement new corrosion control measures to inhibit the release of lead into water.

Full video of news conference:

Newark is providing free filters to reduce lead, as well as launching a public information campaign to make residents aware of these filters. The city is also implementing new corrosion-control measures and helping property owners replace their lead service lines.

Starting Saturday, October 13, the filters can be picked up at the Boylan Recreation Center located at 916 South Orange Avenue, and at the Department of Health and Community Wellness located at 110 William Street, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Officials said residents and businesses without lead service lines do not need to be concerned about lead, which is introduced into the water when it dissolves out of lead service lines connecting Newark's water supply to homes.

Lead dissolving out of service lines is a widespread problem in cities across the nation. In Newark, the city owns the water mains but not the service lines. Lead service lines and solder joints may occur in homes built before 1986, the year that lead lines were banned.

New Jersey state health and environmental officials said they are supporting Newark's decision to provide in-home tap water filters.

"Our first priority is assuring the health of our residents, and so we urge everyone to follow the guidance from state and local officials," Governor Phil Murphy said. "My administration stands ready to provide any assistance necessary."

Three steps residents should take:

1. Call 973-733-6303 to find out if you have a lead service line. Not all residences in Newark are affected. The Newark Water Department is available to provide this information.

2. If you have a lead service line, begin using filtered or bottled water immediately. Flushing, or running the water from the tap for a few minutes, will not work in this case.

3. Get children's blood tested for lead levels, and talk to your health care provider or the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness at 973-733-5323.

"We urge all city residents in exposed homes to provide either filtered or bottled water to children under age 6 at home, especially when mothers are using powdered baby formula or other powdered drinks to feed their children," Commissioner of Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. "Formula-fed infants are especially at risk. Lead can have long-term effects on the developing brains of children."

CLICK HERE for more information about lead testing.

Residents can have their water tested at no charge by contacting the Department of Water and Sewer Utilities at (973) 733-6303 or emailing waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us to request an inspection.

A website with information about Newark lead service lines, which homes have been affected and how to obtain and install water filters, can be found at NewarkLeadServiceLine.com.

Five recreation centers, along with City Hall, Central Avenue and the Health Department will open for residents to collect filters and replacement cartridges.

--Boylan Recreation Center: 916 South Orange Avenue
--John F. Kennedy Recreation Center: 211 West Kinney Street (entrance on Howard Street)
--Vince Lombardi Center of Hope: 201 Bloomfield Avenue
--St. Peter's Recreation Center: 378 Lyons Avenue
--Hayes Park West Recreation: 179 Boyd Street
--The Water and Sewers Facility: 239 Central Avenue

These recreation centers will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. during the week of October 15. During the week of October 22, the distribution centers will be open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

City Hall and Newark's Health Department will remain distribution locations Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The Water and Sewers Facility will operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, through November 1.

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healthleadcontaminated waterhealthNewarkEssex County
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