NRDC Statement at the Conclusion of the Newark Drinking Water Hearing in Federal Court

Newark, N.J. – Arguments in a federal lawsuit seeking bottled water for some Newark residents, due to health concerns about high levels of lead in the city’s drinking water, concluded today without a decision from the judge. The case was brought by the Newark Education Workers (NEW) Caucus—a group of public school educators—and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

At issue in this week’s hearing was a limited request for a court order that Newark supply bottled water to pregnant women and families with kids aged 6 and under in the eastern part of the city, called the Wanaque service area.

The following is a statement from Erik Olson, Senior Director of Health for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“Everyone has a right to safe drinking water. The NEW Caucus and NRDC filed this lawsuit to secure safe drinking water for Newark residents, whose tap water has been contaminated with lead for years. It’s unfortunate that it took legal action for Newark officials to begin to take steps to protect its most vulnerable residents from lead, including pregnant women and children, as lead is unsafe at any level of exposure.

“We eagerly await the court’s decision, but regardless of the outcome, we will keep fighting for safe water for all Newark residents.”


U.S. District Judge Esther Salas heard arguments in the case, which seeks to force Newark to deliver bottled water to residents who are pregnant or have children age 6 or younger in the eastern part of the city. Just last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency instructed the city to provide bottled water to residents with lead pipes in the city of Newark, but left residents in the eastern part of the city, in the so-called Wanaque service area, without bottled water.

For more information, see NRDC’s Newark Water Crisis website.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 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.​

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