Officials in Newark, New Jersey reported drop in lead contamination levels after the city’s anti-corrosion and lead line replacement projects.
Newark has seen a steady drop in its lead contamination levels in the city’s water over the past eight months, according to city officials.
The drop in lead levels comes after Newark’s massive anti-corrosion program and lead line replacement project, reported News 12 New Jersey. City officials say that there has been a 74% drop in contamination levels since February. Levels were at 66 parts per billion (ppb) in February and are now down to 17.3 ppb, which is closer to the federally accepted level of 15 ppb.
“Hopefully 2020 will be the last year we’re dealing with elevated lead levels,” said acting Newark Water and Sewer Director Kareem Adeem.
Erik Olson, who oversees health programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is suing Newark and the state over the water crisis, believes it is too premature to determine whether the new lead prevention treatment is working. Lead levels tend to be lower in the winter months, according to Olson.
“For that reason, certainly people in Newark shouldn’t let their guard down," Olson said. “We’re hopeful that it’s going to start showing up as an improvement but we’re definitely not out of the woods.”
Approximately 85 water lines are replaced a day under the city’s replacement program and it has been estimated that each line would cost between $6,000 to $10,000 to replace.
The lead service line replacement program is exceeding the city's expectations, according to News 12 New Jersey.
“The block-by-block approach is very productive for us. Some residents are very grateful and I want to thank them for allowing us to inconvenience them with the detours and shutting down the blocks,” said Adeem.
There are 18,000 water lines that still need to be replaced in Newark and more than 4,500 have been replaced so far.