NEWARK, NJ – On Monday, August 26, 2019, Essex County Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill along with the entire Freeholder Board joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka for a special announcement to layout long-term plans to mitigate unhealthy levels of lead in Newark’s water. The announcement preempts the Board’s emergency meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 27, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the Hall of Records in Newark, where the Board is poised to affirm a $120 million dollar bond ordinance intended to finance and fix the problem. 

The Essex County Improvement Authority (ECIA), according to the agreement, will assist the City of Newark in financing $120 million, to expedite the replacement of lead water pipes from what would be a woeful decade long process, to a 24 - 30 months process. The first phase of the program to replace water service pipes commenced March 2019. There are approximately 18,000 properties where lead service pipes will need to be replaced. To date, approximately 700 properties have already been replaced.   Additionally, this loan program will also be extended to the municipalities of Bloomfield, Belleville, and Nutley, which purchase water from Newark for sections of their communities.

Freeholder President Gill stated, “We understand the urgency in the face of this challenge and applaud and support the County Executive in being part of the solution to resolve this situation.” He further stated, “As a Board, we look forward to approving this legislation that will make significant strides for the health and well-being of our residents, especially those who are most vulnerable.”