Group: Newark Not Doing Enough About Lead In Water

February 24, 2019 - 5:40 pm

NEWYORK (WCBS 880) – Newark started handing out water filters across the city as it deals with elevated lead levels in the water supply, but one advocacy group says that isn’t enough.

Erik Olson, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says it took a while for Newark to even admit it had a problem with lead in its water.

Olson says lead levels in the city are significant.

“The federal EPA’s drinking water standard (...) sets an action level of 15 parts per billion. The city unfortunately is about triple that level,” he said.

But Newark agreed to hand out filtration devices to at-risk households. But Olson says it’s been a “haphazard program.”

He says some households didn’t get their filters. And some of those who did didn’t get any instructions or the filters they got didn’t fit their faucets.

“We’ve asked the court to force the city to really go forward with a bottled water program,” he said.

The NRDC also wants Newark to start fortifying its water treatment while the city works on the longer-term goal of replacing its pipes.

A city spokesman says the filter program is working and that the NRDC is cherry-picking incidents.

Olson says his group is relying on data that the city produced.

“A huge swath of the city continues to have these lead contamination problems,” he said.