New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, mayor Ras Baraka, cabinet members, and local officials toured a bottled water distribution center in Newark and announced enhanced partnerships to promote access to clean water and conduct lead screenings for affected residents.
Bottled water is being provided to Newark for distribution to impacted residents, sourced from emergency reserves. Corporate partners, including Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi, will continue to supplement through donations. University Hospital will donate five free bottles of clean water to Newark residents who are discharged from inpatient stays for the month of August.
University Hospital will also conduct free lead screenings for impacted residents on Saturday, August 17th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on subsequent Saturdays depending on demand. Individuals wishing to receive a screening must make an appointment at (973) 972-9000.
In addition, the City of Newark provides free lead screenings Monday through Friday.
“Access to clean and safe drinking water is a fundamental right,” said Governor Murphy. “The State and City’s efforts, in tandem with University Hospital and our corporate partners, will ensure that Newark residents have access to bottled water. I urge residents – particularly pregnant woman, families with children under six, and especially those caring for infants – to access the free bottled water the City is providing.”
According to Ras Baraka, “Although there are only two homes where testing found that water filters are not working as expected, to be extremely cautious, we are providing bottled water to affected residents with lead service lines in their homes.
“We have distributed bottled water for the past two days. The City of Newark and the State of New Jersey are prepared to do everything possible to keep residents healthy.”
“No level of lead is acceptable for any child or pregnant woman,” said Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Even low levels of lead can affect a child’s ability to achieve milestones at school. That’s why the Department of Health stands ready to support the city in addressing the health needs of its residents.”
This year, the State has provided $1.8 million in lead testing funding and $12 million to support the City of Newark’s efforts to replace lead service line replacement.