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NJ Officials Working With EPA To Address Lead In Water Problem

August 14, 2019 - 3:00 pm
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NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- New Jersey authorities are working with federal officials to determine how widespread lead in Newark's drinking water might be. 

Tens of thousands of Newark residents have been told to use bottled water after home water filters meant to remove lead were found to be faulty. 

The city has been handing out free bottles to residents, but Anjell Broadie said when she came to a distribution center to pick up water during her lunch break there was no one there.

"They told me that I have to wait an hour because the people went on lunch, so we have to wait," Broadie said. "I don't know what to do."

This comes days after an initial shipment of bottled water had been found to be past its "best by" date.

Gov. Phil Murphy says state officials will meet with federal Environmental Protection Agency officials in Washington on Thursday about the issue. 

"We'll do all that we can to get this as right as fast as we can," Murphy said.

Filters in two homes in Newark were found to be ineffective. The water that passed through them still tested for high levels of lead.

"I think all of us believe that we need to have a lot more data to understand the exact trajectory here," Murphy said.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says officials are trying to get a handle on how widespread the issue is and emphasized that authorities have limited results so far. 

Overall, 14,000 homes in Newark could potentially be impacted by this problem and a much larger number could as well considering that these filters are used all over the country to remove lead from drinking water.

Newark has distributed nearly 40,000 filters since last year because some homes with lead service lines tested positive for lead.

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