Newark Makes Progress on Lead Crisis, But is Not Out of the Woods Yet

WASHINGTON – The City of Newark today announced levels of lead in its drinking water for the first six months of 2020 had declined below the EPA’s action level. Newark’s mayor acknowledged New Jersey state officials have not yet verified these data.

The following is a reaction of Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health at NRDC:

“Simply put, there are no safe levels of lead. It’s promising that lead levels in Newark’s drinking water are apparently coming down, and that many lead service lines have been replaced. But as the Mayor said, the job isn’t finished yet. Detailed data should be publicly released to confirm the reported levels and to determine if lower levels will be sustained in the coming months. We’re hoping levels will continue coming down and look forward to the completion of the lead service line replacement program. Residents should continue to use filters with cartridges that have not expired, follow flushing instructions, and get their water tested for free by the City. Newark is not out of the woods yet.”

The Newark Education Workers (NEW) Caucus and NRDC sued the City of Newark and New Jersey state officials in June of 2018, for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including their failure to address the lead crisis on a timely basis. The case remains pending and has been temporarily stayed by the court due to COVID-19.

Additional Resources:

Newark Drinking Water Crisis


NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​