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Outraged Holley: Newark and Area Residents ‘Remain Victims of Ecoside Purported by Environmental Racism’

Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20) was unimpressed by the press conference led by Gov. Phil Murphy and other elected officials this afternoon as they reported on the preliminary findings of lead contamination testing in the City of Newark.

In fact, it infuriated him.

“Until the City of Newark [that provides water to several municipalities including Elizabeth, Hillside, Belleville & Bloomfield] and the State of New Jersey can prove through comprehensive tests the water is safe to drink sadly the residents of those municipalities remain victims of ecoside purported by environmental racism.

“Today’s press conference failed to include the validation and confirmation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency that the water is safe to drink without using a filter,” added the Roselle-based assemblyman.

“What’s the point of testing only filters and not the full testing of the water flowing into the service lines,” he wanted to know. “Bottled water still needs to be distributed!”

The NJ Sierra Cluub issued a similar response to the news.

According to local sources in Newark, officials found houses using filters have lead levels of 10ppb. In August, The EPA tested and found high levels of lead with filters in two residences in Newark. The agency strongly encouraged the city of Newark to take immediate action.

 “The city of Newark has sampled 300 homes and found that of lead levels are at 10ppb. This levels are still too high given the impact of lead to children. Filters should be removing 99% of the lead in water. The CDC and the EPA said there should be no traces of lead in the water. The private well drinking act sets the standard for houses on wells for 5ppb. 10ppb but it is still way to high that will have serious health impacts on children and the people of Newark. Its shows we are doing too little too late,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. Newark tried the Brita Solution that hasn’t worked, they tried the Poland Spring solution that also has not worked. The city needs a long term solution, the lead problem in Newark has been going on for far too long.”

Lead levels in Newark’s water supply tested at 52 parts per billion between January 1 and June 30 of 2019. These are the highest levels ever recorded in Newark, an increase from 48 parts per billion during the last 6 months of 2018. Newark officials say orthophosphate corrosion control systems should begin to reduce the lead levels over the second half of 2019.


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