Newark may be the new Flint in Michigan. While it is not commensurate with its scale, officials in both cities initially refused to recognize lead in their drinking water, unnecessarily exposing locals.
On Monday, New Jersey's largest city began distributing bottled water to some residents. This decision comes after a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Protection Agency) warned Friday of the presence of lead in water in two of the three tested foci.
Yet when the first tests showed high levels two years ago, the city denied having a problem. In the spring of 2018, its website assured residents: "NEWARK WATER IS ABSOLUTELY DRINK FREE."
This took until the fall, when a study commissioned by the city revealed that efforts in a treatment facility to prevent lead from entering the water were not working, so that officials finally admit that they had a problem. They then distributed 40,000 water filters to some of its 285,000 inhabitants.
Last Friday, the letter, however, announced bad news: "We are not able for the moment to assure the residents of Newark that their health is fully protected if the tap water filtered by these devices is consumed. ". The city admits that the filters might not be enough.
Erik Olson of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who is suing Newark for violating federal safe drinking water laws, says, "The parallels with Flint are pretty clear." Both cities denied having a problem despite the data that put it in evidence.
Newark could now admit that he is facing big water problems. But being late can mean months or years of unnecessary exposure to a poison that can have alarming consequences, especially for young children.
Residents must cross their fingers to know enough. In the meantime, it might be prudent to drink bottled water in parts of Newark.