Newark, New Jersey, Replace
Corroding lead pipes in Newark, New Jersey are causing the city to have a water crisis. This week, Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka announced a plan to replace the pipes at no cost to homeowners. (Photo via NJ.com)

Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka Announce New Plan to Replace Lead Pipes in Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey has higher levels of lead in its water than Flint, Michigan did at the height of its water crisis, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest samples.  This weekend, after months of slow and ineffective action, officials began a citywide effort to replace lead pipes throughout the city in a timely manner.

Related Story: Newark, NJ Has Higher Lead Levels in Its Water Than Flint at the Height of the Water Crisis

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced a new plan that will replace Newark’s lead service lines with copper in a fraction of the time it was originally scheduled to take — and for free.

Volunteers will be visiting around 18,000 homes across Newark to pass out drinkable water and help residents sign up to replace their lead service lines at no cost. The move comes as the city is implementing a $120 million Essex County program that will speed up the replacement of every remaining lead service line in Newark.

The project was initially estimated to take ten years, but with the new program, it will be complete in about three.

The bond from Essex County is strictly only permitted to be used for the pipe replacement program, and will be at no cost to homeowners.

Though the project will likely create jobs in the city, which has a 28.3% poverty rate and a 5.9% unemployment rate, another class issue comes into play in the implementation of the plan: Seventy percent of Newark residents are renters, but homeowners need to give their permission, according to CBS News. With landlords often being apathetic about their renters’ living conditions, getting a hold of them to grant permission could be a challenge.

“Newark is a city of renters and too often landlords either can’t be found or show a lack of interest in the is important health initiative,” Baraka said in the announcement.

Baraka said the government is trying to create a law or ordinance that would allow crews to replace pipes without owners’ permission.

“We are going to do this as swiftly as humanly possible. We are going to make sure that we are all on the same page and we get this done as aggressively as we can,” Baraka said.

The move also comes after the National Resource Defense Council sued Newark last year to force it into action. Since March, 770 service lines have been replaced. The city began giving out 30,000 water filters in March, but they recently proved ineffective, so they began handing out bottled water instead, according to CBS.

Newark’s water problems date back several decades with old and faulty infrastructure and no funds to replace it, according to CBS. Corrosion control chemicals introduced years ago are now ineffective.

As Murphy said in the announcement, Essex County is the most diverse county in New Jersey. Though Murphy praised the county’s diversity, cities with fewer wealthy and white residents — much like Flint, and now Newark — seem to experience slower government reactions to crises like these. Newark is over 50% Black.

Essex County freeholders are set to hold a meeting Sept. 10 to approve the bond. There will also be a vote to declare a health emergency in the city.

Latest News

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…

Accenture and Goodwill Develop Virtual Experience To Help People Impacted by the Criminal Justice System Enter the Workforce

Originally published at prnewswire.com. Accenture is ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Goodwill Industries International has teamed with Accenture to develop an innovative virtual experience called Project Overcome. The experience is designed for people impacted by the criminal justice system who want to…