‘Tasting Funny for Years’: Lead in the Water and a City in Crisis

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Aug. 20, 2019

Adunola Clement washed dishes in her home on Norwood Street, in Newark’s West Ward neighborhood.

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NEWARK — Donnette Goodluck tried all day to pick up the free bottled water the city was distributing as officials addressed a growing lead contamination crisis.

When she first arrived at Boylan Street Recreation Center last Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., the line wrapped around the block; Ms. Goodluck and others were told to come back at 1 p.m. At 1 p.m., she was instructed to come back two hours later. Uncertain she could find a neighbor to watch the six children she babysits, she gave up.

“Two free cases to do everything — to drink, to cook. It won’t last me that long but it’s not cheap for me to keep buying water myself,” said Ms. Goodluck, 52.

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Will N.J. foot bill for Planned Parenthood funds lost because of Trump abortion rule?

Updated Aug 19, 2019

Planned Parenthood’s New Jersey affiliates said Monday that they were withdrawing from the federal government’s family planning program because President Donald Trump won’t let them tell their patients where they can get a legal abortion.

The decision will cost the women’s health care provider and affect 77,000 New Jersey patients. State officials are looking at whether they will step in.

“Our patients come to us because they expect the best information and health care available – and we have a commitment to give that to them," said Roslyn Rogers Collins, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “This gag rule would make it impossible to do that.”

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Booker left Newark years before water lead levels spiked, but what happened under his watch?

Updated Aug 18, 2019

Newark’s escalating water crisis has focused unwelcome attention on Democratic presidential hopeful Cory Booker’s tenure as mayor and his stewardship of the city’s troubled water system long before lead levels spiked in the drinking water.

Problems in the city reached new heights last week when officials began a mass-scale distribution of more than 70,000 cases of bottled water.

Booker, who led Newark as mayor from 2006-2013, left before elevated lead levels were first discovered in the water supply in 2017. City-wide tests in 2015, two years after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, showed no problems and his campaign has rejected all assertions that he shared any blame for it.

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Newark lead crisis is a wakeup call | Editorial

Posted Aug 18, 2019

Tens of thousands of homes in Newark have been told to drink only bottled water, thanks to a high level of lead from the tap. The concerns date back years, and there’s no end in sight.

Elderly people have to stand in long lines to pick up a 30-pound pack of bottled water from the city, and haul it home. Pregnant women –including the mayor’s wife – don’t know if their babies are safe.

All because it’s not clear whether the 38,000 free water filters handed out by the city, with the blessing of federal regulators, are working properly. If further tests prove they aren’t, it will require an emergency response this city can ill afford.

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Trump declares war on Emma Lazarus | Editorial

Donald Trump has decided that the lamp beside the golden door must be extinguished for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Let the wretched refuse build their lives in Canada, he figures.

Going forward, we shall welcome only the pale and well-insured, and if they can afford a stay at Mar-a-Lago, that would be viewed favorably.

It is no longer enough for this administration to demonize undocumented immigrants. Starting Oct. 15, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security will enact rules that will essentially purge legal immigrants, including those with American children who are leading productive lives here.

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If judge orders all pregnant moms and kids to get bottled water, it would ‘wreck’ public trust, Newark argues

Posted Aug 16, 2019

Expanding Newark’s emergency bottled water distribution to include residents unaffected by the city’s lead crisis would come at a “terrible cost” and prompt unnecessary panic, Newark’s attorneys argued in federal court Friday as they fought to throw out an ongoing lawsuit filed by an environmental group.

“There’s something tragic about the idea that people would come to think they can’t trust the water,” said Eric Klein, the attorney representing Newark.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the city over its elevated lead levels that began in 2017, is asking U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas to force Newark to provide bottled water for pregnant women and families with children six years old or younger who reside primarily in the East Ward and are serviced by the Wanaque water treatment plant.

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A HIKE IN THE GAS TAX? WE’LL KNOW BY THE END OF THE MONTH

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Lead in the water has Newark in crisis and our mayor has done nothing, ex councilman says

Updated Aug 15, 2019

By Oscar James II

Mayor Ras Baraka should have declared a state of emergency and notified our neighborhoods immediately to the urgency of this issue. And most of all, create a formal transparent plan for city council to approve, former Councilman Oscar James II says.

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Newark has a treasured history for political activism and social consciousness. Those of us who were born in Newark, and stayed through adulthood, take pride in the lessons told to us by our grandparents and caregivers. During difficult moments, rather than accept existing social and political structures, we as a community fought to create needed change. Even in recent days, while politicians in Trenton ruled our school system, we joined together to fight for local control.

Yet, after decades of continued crime, crooked politicians, unemployment, and poverty, there is still considerable work to be done. The fight for fairness and equity continues, and nowhere is this issue more immediately seen than in the water we drink.

Let us be clear and let us be honest - our city is in a crisis.

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Lead Crisis in Newark Grows, as Bottled Water Distribution Is Bungled

By Nick Corasaniti, Corey Kilgannon and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Aug. 15, 2019

People lined up outside a recreation center in Newark on Tuesday, where officials began giving out bottled water out of concerns about elevated lead levels in tap water.

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NEWARK — A growing crisis over lead contamination in drinking water gripped Newark on Wednesday as tens of thousands of residents were told to drink only bottled water, the culmination of years of neglect that has pushed New Jersey’s largest city to the forefront of an environmental problem afflicting urban areas across the nation.

Urgent new warnings from federal environmental officials about contamination in drinking water from aging lead pipes spread anxiety and fear across much of Newark, but the municipal government’s makeshift efforts to set up distribution centers to hand out bottled water were hampered by confusion and frustration.

State and local officials said they were making free water available to 15,000 of the city’s 95,000 households, and hundreds of people waited in long lines in the summer heat to pick up cases of water. But officials had to halt the distribution temporarily after discovering that some of the water exceeded its best-by date.

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State’s emergency supply of bottled water was expired. Was it safe to drink?

Posted Aug 14, 2019

The water was finally starting to be distributed to affected residents, but it was expired.

The distribution of bottled water to more than 14,000 households at risk for lead contamination was temporarily halted in Newark on Tuesday, after the city noticed the bottles were past their “best by” dates.

But is bottled water unsafe to drink if it’s technically expired?

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