The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found elevated levels of lead in the Newark schools, 30 total, according to the Newark Mayor’s Office. The high lead levels are limited to the schools, not the rest of the city, Newark Communications Director Frank Baraff told PolitickerNJ.
“The testing confirms that Newark water is safe to drink,” the communications director said.
The 30 schools in question are not going to be closed. But as the state and the city work to find out what caused the problem, teachers and students in the schools have been told: “don’t drink the water.”
Baraff said this is not a Flint, Michigan repeat, where lead levels equaled 13,000 parts per billion. IN Newark, the lead equals 550 parts per billion.
“This is a situation limited to the schools – not the city water supply,” he said. “It’s a whole other order of magnitude.”
The DEP tested water from the Newark water supply and at that point where it enters the schools, the water is fine.
Baraff said neither the city nor the DEP has evidence at this time about whether anyone’s health has been impacted by the crisis.
“Extensive testing is ongoing to determine where the problem exists,” he said. “Water is being distributed to teachers and kids.”
Officials are delivering two pallets of water to every impacted school. “This is not something that is going away with an all-clear signal in a week,” said Baraff.