State approves Newark’s $120M lead line replacement plan

Newark’s plan to fast-track the replacement of some 18,000 lead service lines has cleared a major hurdle.

On Wednesday, the city announced the state local finance board had approved its plan to borrow $120 million from Essex County to pay for the pipe replacements.

The loan would allow the work to be done within three years, rather than the 10 years it would have taken under the city’s original schedule and financing plan.

The city council is slated to vote on the bond measure next week.

Newark is banking on better interest rates through Essex County’s triple-A bond rating, which the city says will save an estimated $15 to $20 million over the life of the loan.

Volunteers are canvassing neighborhoods, encouraging landlords and homeowners to sign up for the replacement program, which is free.

Some 800 lead service lines have been replaced so far.

The council will also vote next week on an ordinance that would allowing the city to replace lead lines with or without the permission of property owners.

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