Newark started getting violations for high levels of lead at the beginning of 2017, as faulty treatment caused city water to corrode badly outdated lead service lines in old homes. Lead is checked in water systems every six months, and for six straight monitoring periods across three years the city registered high for lead.
The city handed out filters, but in the summer of 2019 there were concerns that the filters weren’t working. That led to bottled water being handed out. And that’s when Newark made headlines. Studies later showed the filters were working but the harsh spotlight pushed Essex County to loan the city $120 million to pay for lead lines to be replaced quickly. Now the city is nearly finished replacing all 23,000 lead service lines with copper pipes. But some residents are still guarded about trusting the quality of the water.