Newark Mayor Mayor Ras Baraka

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

Newark Mayor Says Water Testing Could Take Month To Complete

August 19, 2019 - 2:48 pm

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- Newark's mayor says it could take another month before additional testing is completed on lead levels in the city's water supply. 
That means residents in affected neighborhoods will have to continue receiving bottled water
Mayor Ras Baraka's comments on a radio show Sunday were first reported by Politico
Newark began distributing bottled water a week ago after lead levels tested high in a few homes even though residents have been given water filters. About 14,000 homes are affected. 
In addition, a federal judge is expected to rule this week on an environmental group's effort to force Newark to distribute water to thousands more residents who are served by a different water system. 
The Natural Resources Defense Council says those residents also are at risk from excessive lead levels.

For years, city leaders had denied concerns about the drinking water until 2016 when lead found in city school systems forced water fountain shutdowns and the testing of thousands of children.

The following year, a citywide testing system found 10 percent of Newark's homes had water lead levels nearly twice the federal standard.

A state study last year concluded that lead was leeching into the water supply because of ineffective corrosion mitigation at one of the two plants that treat the city's drinking water.

Newark has been hampered by financial challenges, making it difficult to upgrade its aging plumbing system.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)