Residents of Newark, New Jersey, will soon receive bottled water from the city amidst concerns over high lead levels in the city’s drinking water.
That, however, did not seem to be enough, when recent testing showed that even the filtered water had alarming levels of lead.
“The data suggest that use of the specific filtration devices distributed by Newark may not be reliably effective, in this particular situation, in reducing lead concentrations to below that standard,” a letter sent by the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday read. “This means that we are unable at this time to assure Newark residents that their health is fully protected when drinking tap water filtered through these devices.”
The EPA noted that the tests indicated that filtered drinking water samples had lead levels “exceeding 15 parts per billion, the applicable federal and state drinking water standard.”
By Sunday New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced in a joint statement the decision to provide bottled water at four local centers starting as early as Monday.
“Access to safe drinking water is critically important to our administrations and we take health risks associated with lead in drinking water very seriously,” the statement said.
The EPA also advised the city to let residents with known or suspected lead service lines know to avoid relying on the filtration devices that the city provided.
Murphy and Barack said in their joint statement that they would “need support and assistance from the federal government if bottled water is to be provided and distributed to impacted residents.”
According to the Times, the bottled water will be available for residents in the Pequannock service area – which has lead service lines and had been given filters previously – as additional testing is ongoing.