NEWARK, NJ - VICE News Tonight is scheduled to air a segment about Newark’s lead issues ahead of a hearing tomorrow in federal court, where advocacy groups will try to convince a judge to make the city expand its filter program.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Newark Education Workers Caucus alleged in a lawsuit that city and state officials violated regulations that lead to elevated levels of lead in Newark's water. The hearing tomorrow will ask a judge to make the city extend its filter program to the East Ward, which Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and other city officials have repeatedly said is unaffected by the lead issue.
"Why don't y'all have a pitcher of water drinking from a cup?"— VICE News (@vicenews) December 17, 2018
Newark, New Jersey is facing a potential drinking water crisis. Find out if the city is about the become the next Flint on #VICENewsTonight at 7:30PM EST on @HBO. pic.twitter.com/PM9FvhKiD4
The city began to distribute lead filters to residents in October after a hired consultant found that a chemical the city adds to its water supply to prevent lead from leaching off into pipes had become ineffective. Baraka and others in his administration have said the East Ward gets its water from a supply that uses an effective corrosion control inhibitor that prevents lead from getting into residents’ drinking water.
A press conference hosted by the mayor last month that was meant to dispel “misinformation” about the lead issue attracted major media outlets, like VICE and The Associated Press. The press conference came after The New York Times published an article comparing Newark to Flint, Mich.
City officials have repeatedly pushed back on its association with Flint, Mich. Officials there reportedly did not treat the water properly to prevent lead from leaching off into pipes after switching to a different water supply.
The emergency motion, which was filed last week, showed an email from February which revealed the city was warned that its treatment of water may have been causing elevated lead levels. The email was first reported by NJ Advance Media.
The city has repeatedly said that Newark's water is "absolutely safe to drink" since the NRDC announced its plans to sue.
The court hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the federal courthouse on 50 Walnut St. VICE’s segment will air at 7:30 p.m. on HBO tonight. Watch the full segment below: