Newark lead water crisis: City to break ground on $120M pipe replacement project

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- In response to a water contamination crisis that's crippled the city for years, Newark is breaking ground on an ambitious $120 million project that will replace thousands of old lead pipes.

The city approved a multi-million dollar bond last month that will accelerate the process of removing all 18,000 lead service line in Newark at no cost to homeowners.

The original timeline called for fixing the issue in eight years, while the new timeline calls for the pipes to be replaced over a period of 24 to 30 months.

Officials announced in 2018 that lead contamination in the city's drinking water presented a serious public health concern and bandaged the problem by distributing water filters to thousands of homes.

Yet in the summer of 2019, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced water filters may not be working as effectively as anticipated, and the problem escalated when bottled water for Newark residents was found to be past its "best by" date.

TIMELINE: How Newark's water lead contamination crisis unfolded

Anyone who has questions or concerns can call the lead water hotline at 866-448-2432.

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