Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NRDC, school workers taking Newark to court over water

The city of Newark and the acting commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection are facing a court battle over unsafe levels of lead in drinking water.
Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:
With lead levels in supplies nearly twice the federal action level for the contaminant, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Newark Education Workers Caucus yesterday announced plans to sue the government for violating the federal safe drinking-water law.
In 2017, more than 10 percent of samples collected by the Newark Water Department show lead levels in excess of 26 parts per billion (ppb), nearly double the federal action level of 15 ppb under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Approximately 20 percent of the samples exceeded the 15 ppb federal action level, according to the groups.

No exposure

Newark called the allegations false, disputing that residents are exposed to dangerous levels of lead.
“The truth is that the water supplied by the city is fully compliant with federal and state regulations,’’ said Andrea Adebowale, director of water for Newark. “The claimant has seriously misinterpreted the findings.’’
Newark’s problems with lead in drinking water are not a new issue. Over two years ago, unsafe levels of lead were found in drinking water in more than 30 schools, leading the city to shut down drinking fountains and bring bottled water in.
“Newark’s lead levels are shockingly high. Access to safe drinking water is particularly important in low-income communities of color, where residents often face multiple sources of exposure and stressors on their health from environmental burdens,’’ said Sara Imperiale, an NRDC environmental justice attorney.

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