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Newark, advocacy groups reach settlement over lead pipes

Agreement must still be approved by judge

By Nikita Biryukov, January 26 2021 12:10 pm

Newark and two advocacy groups who sued the city over aging pipes that leached lead into the city’s water supply announced a settlement agreement Tuesday.

The settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, follows a suit brought by the Newark Education Workers Caucus and the National Resources Defense Council, will require Newark continue replacing, for free, lead water pipes running to residents’ homes at an unchanged rate.

“Lead damages children’s brains, which is why our group of public school teachers brought this case to secure safe drinking water for families in Newark,” NEW Caucus chair Yvette Jordan said. “Thankfully, our actions worked. Newark has come a long way to provide a brighter future for its children, and this settlement will ensure the job is finished.”

The agreement also calls on the city to continue providing all residents with free water tests and some with filters and replacement cartridges. It also requires the city engage in public outreach on the importance of replacing filter cartridges and launch a website on line replacement eligibility and water test results, among other things.

It also calls for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which signed onto the agreement, to post publicly results of water quality and corrosion control tests.

“NEW Caucus and other residents stood up to fight for safe drinking water in Newark, securing an extraordinary victory for generations of kids who will live healthier, better lives because they won’t be drinking leaded tap water,” said Erik D. Olson, NRDC’s Senior Strategic Director for Health. “Newark’s aggressive lead service line replacement program, at no direct cost to residents, could serve as a model for the nation once it is completed.”

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