Newark Mayor: city-provided water filters meant to reduce lead in water may not be working as expected

NEWARK — Pregnant woman, infants and children under six are being urged to avoid unfiltered tap water in parts of Newark, as the city continues to experience tap water with high levels of lead, officials said Saturday.

City officials began distributing free, lead-safe water filters for free to residents back in October, but recently discovered two cases where water filters weren’t working as expected.

The New Jersey Department of Health recommends that bottled water be used for infants who are being fed with formula and children under 6 years old until families who have lead service lines and plumbing that contains lead receive lead-safe water filters.

All other Newark residents are encouraged to run their water for five minutes before running it through their filters and using it.

“If you live in the Pequannock area, have lead service lines and received a filter, the City of Newark encourages you to take one small step to ensure your filter is working effectively. Before drinking from your tap water, run the water for five minutes before filtering to maximize your filter’s effectiveness,” said Kareem Adeem, Acting Director of the Newark Department of Water & Sewer Utilities. “We encourage residents to take advantage of all the important resources the City of Newark is offering, including free blood testing for children under 6, free water testing and our Lead Service Line Replacement Program.”

They say do not boil water to remove lead, as the process will not reduce lead levels in water.

Officials said the decision to alert Newark residents of the filter issues is “out of an abundance of caution”. They said three filters may not be working as expected.

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