Reducing Lead Exposure in Newark Drinking Water

The website provides information related to lead in drinking water in Newark including lead and water quality parameter testing results, current violations, and the status of Newark’s corrosion control treatment permits.

What Can I Do to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water?

  1. Run your water to flush out lead. Based on currently available data, flushing is recommended for all residences in the Wanaque and Pequannock service areas (all residences in Newark). For residences in the Pequannock service area that have a lead service line and/or lead plumbing, flushing and then using a filter (see below) is recommended. To determine what service area your home is in please see https://www.newarkleadserviceline.com/check-your-address

    If your home DOES NOT have a lead service line, and if water hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, let the cold water run for 15-30 seconds or longer until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. The longer the water resides in plumbing the more lead it may contain.

    For residents with a lead service line or until you determine if you are served by one, after water has not been used for an extended period, let the cold water run from the tap longer based on the length of the lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home (about 5 to 8 minutes).

    Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of the plumbing system, you still need to flush the water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking. Flushing tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your health. 

    To check if you have a lead service line please follow the steps at https://www.newarkleadserviceline.com/replacement#check-your-line.

  2. Look for Alternative Sources or Water Treatment. Currently, Newark is providing NSF-certified filters and replacement cartridges to remove lead to single-family and multi-family homes that are serviced by the Pequannock Water System (all of west and south wards, and most of central and north wards) and have lead service lines or interior copper piping with lead solder, as well as homes tested by the City with a water lead level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) or higher. For more information, please visit https://www.newarkleadserviceline.com/filters.

    If you choose to purchase your own filter, read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Prior to the filters being installed, for those with known lead service lines or service lines of unknown material within the Pequannock service area, the New Jersey Department of Health recommends that bottled water be used by pregnant women, infants who are being fed with formula, and for all children under the age of six. In addition, the filters or bottled water should be used until further notice. Do not run hot water through your filter. 

    Pequannock service area residents: Flush and filter prior to using water for drinking and cooking. If you suspect you have a lead service line, after water has not been used for an extended period, run the water for at least 5-8 minutes prior to filtering for drinking or cooking water to flush out the peak lead concentrations.

    Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations and instructions. Filter cartridges should be replaced at least every three (3) months or when illuminated lights turns red. Additional information may be found here: https://www.newarkleadserviceline.com/#when-to-replace. For qualified residents in need of assistance - To request an appointment for assistance with installation, use and maintenance of filters or cartridges please contact waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us or (973) 733-6303.

  3. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook, drink, or prepare beverages from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. If you need hot water, draw water from the cold tap and then heat it. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula. If you have not had your water sampled or if you know or suspect you have a lead service line it is recommended that bottled water be used for drinking and preparing baby formula.

  4. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.

  5. Test your water for lead. Contact the City of Newark at waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us or (973) 733-6303 to find out how to get your water tested for lead, free of charge.

  6. Replace plumbing fixtures and service lines containing lead. The City is conducting a Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Program to assist property owners with the replacement of their lead service line at no cost. For more information, call (973)733-6303 or go to www.newarkleadserviceline.com/register.

    New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up 0.25% lead to be labeled as “lead free.” Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions. Visit the NSF website at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.

  7. Remove and clean aerators/screens on plumbing fixtures. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the aerator screen usually found at the tip of indoor faucets. Regularly remove and clean aerators screens and remove any particles.

  8. Get your child tested. The New Jersey Department of Health recommends that children under the age of 18 have their blood lead levels screened as soon as possible regardless of previous blood lead testing history. Customers may receive free blood-testing for lead for any child aged 18 or under. Free blood-testing is available at the Health Department, 110 Williams Street, Newark, NJ. Please call (973)733-5310 to schedule an appointment.

  9. Proper and routine maintenance of water softeners. It is very important that residents manage their water softeners appropriately. Not properly maintaining your water softener could have a negative impact on the corrosivity of the water in your home. Water softeners and reverse osmosis units will remove lead from water but can also make the water more corrosive to lead solder and plumbing by removing certain minerals; therefore, the installation of these treatment units at the point of entry into homes with lead plumbing should only be done under supervision of a qualified water treatment professional.

What Are the Health Effects of Lead? 

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water and/or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.

What Are the Sources of Lead?

Although most lead exposure occurs when people eat paint chips and inhale dust, or from contaminated soil, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Lead is rarely found in source water but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials and the water remaining stagnant within these plumbing materials. New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free”, may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as “lead free.” However, prior to January 4, 2014, “lead free” allowed up to 8 percent lead content of the wetted surfaces of plumbing products including those labeled NSF certified. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.

When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into your drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon if the water has not been used all day, can contain higher levels of lead.

Resources

Water Quality Parameter Sampling Plan and Results

Final Notices of Non-Compliance, Notices of Violations, and Notices of Lead Action Level Exceedance 

This portion of the website will contain copies of Notice’s of Non-Compliance, Notice of Violations and Notices of Action Level Exceedance that NJDEP has issued to Newark beginning in January 2021.

Newark's Corrosion Control Treatment Permitting, Approvals and Reports

Information on Childhood Blood Testing

Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about lead exposure. Your family doctor or pediatrician can perform a blood test for lead and provide you with information about the health effects of lead. Wash your children’s hands and toys often as they can come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead. New Jersey law requires that children be screened at both 1 and 2 years of age. Children 3 to 5 years of age should also be screened if they have not been screened before.

Learn more about how to test your child:

Questions

For any non-lead concerns (e.g., water bill) contact Newark Water and Sewer - waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us.

920 Broad Street
Room 117
Newark, NJ 07102

973-733-6370

This page was created as part of a legal settlement and will be active during the effective period of the agreement.