Residents of Newark, New Jersey have secured safe drinking water protections from lead contamination under a proposed settlement agreement.
Newark, New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) resolved a 3-year legal battle with groups who filed suit against the city in 2018 over the handling of its lead water crisis.
The citizen suit was brought by the Newark Education Workers (NEW) Caucus and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to combat high lead levels leaching into drinking water and violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
In less than two years, Newark replaced more than 17,000 lead lines through a $120 million loan from Essex County. The program is now in its final stages.
No partial pipe replacements are permitted under the agreement.
Newark initiated a lead service line replacement program in March 2019 and expects to complete replacement of an estimated 18,000 pipes by early spring 2021, reported the NRDC.
The proposed agreement requires Newark to continue to provide free water testing to residents, free filters and replacement cartridges to eligible residents, as well as extensive public education about replacing filter cartridges.
The term of the agreement extends through Jun. 30, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021. The agreement will not take effect until approved by the Court.
The city will provide public health information to its residents at newarkleadserviceline.com and town halls. The NJDEP is in the process of building a web page for information on water and corrosion control testing in Newark. The site is expected to launch February 2021 and will also allow users to see Newark’s compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, added the NRDC.