Newark school officials knew about lead-tainted drinking water

Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 06:53:21-05

NEWARK – Some students in New Jersey's largest school district are being told not to drink the water because of elevated levels of lead.

Wednesday, all water fountains were shut off at 30 school buildings where elevated levels of lead were recorded. Bottled water and water coolers were brought in, but schools need more.

Newark's mayor is asking for donations of cases of bottled water.  Newark officials had a tough time answering why they waited two days to alert parents about the elevated lead levels.

They said it was due to logistics.

PIX11 learned students drank the water on Monday and Tuesday and officials knew there were raised lead levels on Monday morning, but basically due to logistics they were still drinking contaminated water.

Thirty out of 67 schools have tested positive for higher lead levels.  While all the schools are being re-tested, students may be drinking bottled water for the next few weeks.

New Jersey's head of the Department of Environmental Protection said contamination starts in the schools pipes and not the water source.

But if you live in an older home, there's reason for concern – the DEP recommends getting your water tested for lead contamination.