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New Jersey Legislators Worry Newark Water Crisis Could Spread

By  Ashe Schow
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 13: A pallet of bottled water is delivered to a recreation center on August 13, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Residents of Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, are to receive free water after lead was found in the tap water. It was reported over the weekend that lead levels in some areas of the city were still not safe and the city has begun distributing bottled water for cooking and drinking.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New Jersey Democrat are sounding the alarm about his state’s current water crisis in Newark.

Fox 5 NY reported that Assemblyman Jamel Holley wrote a letter to NJ Gov. Phil Murphy regarding the situation in Newark.

“Newark, it’s suburbs, or the entire State of New Jersey cannot afford the public image that has befallen Flint, Michigan,” the letter said. “I am pleading and suggesting to you as the Governor of this great State that a State of Emergency be called.”

The Daily Wire previously reported that water contaminated with lead has been found in Newark due to corrosion seeping in from water pipes, some of which are more than 100 years old. Tests conducted two years ago found that more than 10% of home in Newark had double the amount of lead allowed by federal law to be considered safe. reported that New Jersey’s U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, along with U.S. Reps. Albio Sires and Donald Payne Jr., asked for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help Newark residents by expanding its screenings for lead in residents’ blood.

“Those most susceptible to lead poisoning — pregnant women and children under 5 — may have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead through their drinking water,” the lawmakers wrote.


Some 14,000 homes in Newark began getting bottled water after two filters designed to eliminate lead in the water did not work.

The lawmakers asked USDA to use federal Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program funds to conduct tests at existing clinics and open another WIC clinic for testing.

They also asked the agency to distribute extra foods rich in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C, to households already receiving assistance. Such foods may reduce the absorption of lead.

Gov. Murphy was interviewed on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Thursday night about the situation in Newark. Murphy tried to present the problem of one not exclusive to Newark.

“[T]he bigger picture of lead service lines is not just a Newark problem, it’s not just a New Jersey problem, it’s an American problem. Newark for many, many years was on a testing regime with the federal government and there was no evidence of lead exceedance,” Murphy told Williams.

When Williams pressed Murphy on whether the situation was a “crisis,” Murphy would only call it a “challenge.”

“We have a big water infrastructure crisis and we need the federal government to step up in a big way. Our congressional delegation has been leading on this, but we need a national water infrastructure renaissance, and I hope that’s one good result that comes from this,” Murphy said.

Other than national assistance, Murphy provided no suggestions for how New Jersey might solve its own issue.

So far, the city has provided tens of thousands of water bottles to affected homes – about 15,000 per day.

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