Earlier this month, Newark, New Jersey, experienced a water crisis that officials are acting swiftly to remedy. According to NJ.com, pipes in several housing units were contaminated with lead due to “decades-old lead service lines.”
Over the span of three years, a $120 million bond will aim to replace these pipes and will be contingent upon landlords agreeing to the “line replacement program” set forth by the city. According to State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), getting landlords on board will help to accelerate the pace.
“We’re a city that has a lot of renters. And if you have a landlord that’s not engaged and doesn’t sign up, then it would prevent the city from replacing the lead-lined pipes. And therefore, that’s not allowing us to protect the renters, who should have a voice in this process,” Ruiz said. Votes on the allocation might take place by October or even as late as November.
According to Mayor Ras Baraka, homeowners will not have to pay for the lead pipe’s replacement and the Essex County Improvement Authority will shell out bonds “at no cost to county taxpayers.” NJ.com also notes the city originally planned to replace pipes, an estimated 18,000, over the next eight years under a $75 million plan. At this time, 770 pipes have been restored.