News Briefs: Newark to Distribute Bottled Water as Filters Fail to Address Lead Problem

In this week's sewer and water news, city officials in Newark, New Jersey, have announced water will be distributed to homes with lead service lines after finding out filters aren't solving the contamination issue

The mayor of Newark, New Jersey, recently announced that filters installed to reduce lead levels in the city’s tap water aren’t working as well as expected.

Recent tests in two out of three homes using the nationally certified filters showed a continuation of the elevated lead levels.

“This is a surprise to everyone,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe tells

City officials in Newark in the meantime have announced that bottled drinking water will be distributed to households with lead pipes.

In a joint statement, Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy have asked the federal government to help with the city’s lead crisis.

This Oregon Reservation Has Been Without Drinking Water All Summer

After a pipe break in May led to other infrastructure failures, NPR reports that the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and its 4,000 residents in central Oregon have lacked access to safe drinking water all summer. It’s a story that emphasizes just how important drinking water infrastructure is to all residents. The community has turned its school into an ad-hoc water distribution center, and according to NPR, the furloughed teachers are now spending their days organizing supplies and supervising youth workers. “I’ll go back to being a teacher, hopefully, after this is done,” one teacher tells the news organization.

Tribal and federal officials say they’re hoping to have drinking water services restored to the reservation by the end of the month.

USDA to Invest $135 Million Into Rural Water Infrastructure

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe recently announced that the department is investing $135 million in 49 projects to improve rural water infrastructure in 24 states.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to partner with rural communities to address their current and long-term water needs,” Rupe says. “Modernizing water infrastructure will yield key health benefits and help spur economic growth, making rural places even more attractive to live and work.”

The USDA is making the investments through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural cities and towns, water districts and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.


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