POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Why Newark’s mayor is pursuing a faster way to replace lead pipes

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

NJTV News Correspondent Michael Hill speaks with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka about the city’s ongoing lead in the water crisis and the $120 million deal with Essex County to replace 18,000 lead service lines in 24 to 30 months.

Baraka says the next item on the docket is working with state lawmakers to approve bills that would allow the city to do the work on private property without the permission of the landlord. If unable to pass legislation, he admits his administration may be faced with a challenge, since 70% of Newark’s residents are renters and oftentimes landlords have bought their property under an LLC — making contacting them difficult.

As for water filter testing, Baraka says results could come back as soon as early September. Due to doubts about the filters’ effectiveness, he says even if the test results are good, the city will continue to pursue the plan to expedite the process of replacing lead pipes.

“We’re getting ready to put together teams to aggressively go out to all 18,000 homes and get people to put their signature on a piece of paper, so we can take care of everybody who has a lead service line,” said Baraka.

Watch Part Two: Newark mayor grades his administration’s handling of lead crisis