Don't be surprised if your councilman in the North Ward shows up with a case or two of bottled water at your doorstep.
Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr., who represents a part of the city that has been hard hit by the water crisis facing Newark, starting making deliveries of bottled water to seniors and homebound residents Friday. He said he plans to continue next week.
"Nobody should have to wait in long lines in the hot sun for water, but especially not our seniors," Ramos said. "I knew we had to act immediately to help our seniors and those who cannot leave their homes because of a disability."
The councilman said nearly 200 people signed up for bottle water deliveries on his website.
Some of those people, he said, were not on the list of homes that the city says have lead service lines.
Ramos said there is still confusion about who should be drinking bottled water.
"We are still delivering water to residents without lead service lines, but we use the opportunity to educate residents and help them sign up to get their water tested to assure that they have peace of mind," Ramos said.
Newark residents are being forced to drink bottled water because of elevated levels of lead found in some homes with lead service lines supplied by the Pequannock water system.
In October 2018, the city began distributing free Pur water filters to those homes. However, testing of three filters found that two of the filters did not remove lead to safe levels. Last week, the city advised residents with lead service lines not to drink or cook with water from the tap even if they installed the water filter.
When he suggested the bottled water delivery to fellow elected officials, Ramos said they immediately agreed to help.
State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Mayor Ras Baraka, Councilmen Luis A. Quintana and Carlos M. Gonzalez all agreed to help support the effort. The Hispanic Law Enforcement Society of Essex County also jumped on board.
"I want to thank everyone who helped with this effort," Ramos said. "When we show up at a senior's home with water, they are extremely grateful."
Residents can pick up bottled water the the following locations:
- Newark Department of Health and Wellness, 110 William St., 8:30-4:30 a.m.
- Bo Porter Sports Complex, 378 Lyons Ave., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- Boylan Street Recreation Center, 916 South Orange Ave., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- Vince Lombardi Center, 201 Bloomfield Ave., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.