Global Water

Newark Faces Water Crisis

After lead seeped into the drinking water in Flint, Mich., in 2014, Newark, N.J., is facing a similar public health crisis, The New York Times reports.

Five things to know:

1. For almost a year and a half, Newark officials denied their water system had an extensive lead problem, despite evidence showing the city had issues similar to Flint’s water crisis.

2. But city officials suddenly changed course in October after an engineering study revealed measures to prevent lead from seeping into Newark’s drinking water were not working at one of the city’s two water treatment plants. After the study results were released, officials launched a giveaway of 40,000 water filters across the city of 285,000 people.

3. New Jersey officials say children under age 6 in homes with lead pipes served by the plant should not drink unfiltered tap water.

4. Concerns about lead seeping into tap water have grown since Flint’s water crisis, where harmful levels of lead in improperly treated water led to criminal indictments against local and state officials and left residents to rely on free bottled water.

5. “The parallels to Flint are fairly clear: [Newark] was denying a problem even though its own data was showing problems,” said Erik Olson, who directs advocacy initiatives at the Natural Resources Defense Council, including campaigns on drinking water protection.

The council filed a lawsuit against Newark this summer, alleging the city violated federal safe drinking water laws.

“Newark is not as extreme as Flint but still a serious problem,” Mr. Olson said.


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