U.S. EPA sent New Jersey a letter which raised concerns on the safety of drinking water
Bottled water will be used amid lead filter concerns in Newark, N.J. According to NBC New York, bottled water will be provided for residents in the Pequannock service area with lead service lines after tests indicated filters may not have been protecting residents against elevated lead levels in drinking water. The bottled water will be available at four local centers while additional testing is completed.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a joint state that the city and state “will need support and assistance from the federal government” to provide water to those affected, according to NBC New York.
The statement came after the U.S. EPA sent the state a letter which raised concerns on the safety of drinking water, according to The New York Times. The letter urged officials to provide bottled water to residents with lead pipes as soon as possible.
“We are unable at this time to assure Newark residents that their heath is fully protected when drinking tap water filtered through these devices,” the letter said, according to The New York Times.
According to NBC New York, the city will expand testing of filtered drinking water to more Newark homes. The city “is actively working with the filter manufacturer to determine the scope of the situation and identify required corrective action as soon as possible," the mayor and governor said, according to NBC New York.
A reduction in lead levels was expected by this year’s end because of the corrosion control system. According to NBC New York, testing left officials optimistic that the system would provide protective coating to prevent leaching from lead pipes.
Erik Olson, the defense council’s senior director for health programs, said the announcement was a good first step, according to The New York Times. However, he said the city should offer bottled water to more residents.
“We’re concerned it might be a temporary thing and we’ll be back to where we started with thousands of citizens in Newark continuing to get water that is contaminated,” Mr. Olson said, according to the The New York Times.