Newark Completes Lead Service Line Replacement Program

Newark Completes Lead Service Line Replacement Program

Crews working on the replacement program in August 2021.

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The City of Newark, New Jersey's Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Program has completed nearly 24,000 replacements citywide in under three years at no cost to residents. On Feb. 11, the city celebrated this project milestone with several prominent figures including Mayor Ras Baraka, Vice President Kamala Harris, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, and Gov. Phil Murphy.

This effort to provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water to all Newark residents initially began in March 2019 as an eight- to 10-year program. By September 2019, a $120 million bond from Essex County removed the cost for residents and the program’s timeline was reduced to three years. Newark was able to pivot from a public health crisis to a national model for other cities to follow for managing lead exposure in drinking water. This celebration comes on the heels of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that allocates $15 billion in federal funding for lead service line replacements and related activities across the country. 

As the program manager, CDM Smith was responsible for coordinating the individual replacements, tracking and sharing progress, filter distribution, and corrosion control treatment. This program also required careful coordination and communication between the city, consultants, contractors and residents. As a community-based project built on trust and safety, great emphasis was placed to reach, educate, get buy-in and develop employment opportunities for Newark residents.  

“My sincerest thanks to the City of Newark for letting CDM Smith partner in this program,” says Brian Farrelly, a construction manager at CDM Smith who managed day-to-day operations of the program. “Together, we have made a great accomplishment in under three years. Newark is a model for all cities and water supply agencies challenged with lead line replacement in the upcoming years.”

“We came here . . . to highlight what you have accomplished here in Newark as an example and a role model of what cities around our country are capable of doing, and I thank you for that,” Vice President Harris said at the event. 

“I’m proud to say [that] we recently completed an unprecedented, Herculean task of replacing all the city’s 24,000 lead service lines in less than three years,” Mayor Baraka wrote in the Newark Star-Ledger on Feb. 10. “No other city has replaced as many lines as fast and we are being touted as the ‘model city’ for lead line abatement.”

For additional information, visit the city's project website at


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