NEWARK, NJ - Dozens of area residents lined up on Wednesday to collect free high-tech water filters donated by a San Francisco-based company seeking to assist Newark’s efforts to provide filtration systems to households affected by elevated levels of lead.
Brondell President Steven Scheer told residents who gathered at the Newark Central Ward Community Center that his company would provide 2,000 Coral water filtration systems.
Scheer, who flew in from San Francisco, said it was the first time his small company was making a large-scale water filtration donation to a municipality after learning about Newark’s problems from the news media.
Scheer said the donation amounted to $250,000.
“For us, this is a big deal,” Scheer said. “My hope is that it spurs other people to step up and help out where they can.”
Scheer said Brondell's water filtration systems has a 300-gallon capacity that is certified to filter 59 different types of contaminants, including lead.
Assemblywoman Shanique Speight said Scheer’s company reached out to her office to coordinate the donation about one month ago.
“It was a donation, 2,000 filters, why wouldn’t I accept it to help any resident in our community? “Speight said. “I couldn’t turn a donation down.”
Central Ward resident Codianis Martinez said she was on her way back from an appointment Wednesday morning when she noticed the water filters being handed out outside the community center.
The mother of three said she had her children tested for lead this week and is awaiting results. She said she struggles to transport large cases of water for her household.
“I’ve been going everywhere to get water,” she said.
As he stood in line to receive a donated water filter, Newark resident Kelvin Hunter said he remains concerned about elevated lead levels in his home despite the city’s efforts to give out its own filters and bottled water.
“I’ve been taking every measure I can,” Hunter said.