NEWARK, NJ- A federal judge sided with Newark’s decision to provide free bottled water only to residents serviced by the Pequannock water source and not to those serviced by the Wanaque water treatment plant.

U.S. Judge Esther Salas wrote in a decision Friday that pregnant women, nursing women and children under the age of six be denied free bottled water in the Wanaque service area, which the city maintains has not been impacted by its lead water crisis.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the question of whether the free bottled water distribution should have gone beyond the residents in the western half of Newark, who are served by the Pequannock water treatment plant, to include residents of the eastern half of the city serviced by the Wanaque water treatment plant.

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Plaintiffs in the case had asked a judge to extend the distribution to certain residents considered more vulnerable to contamination by lead.  

Yvette Jordan of the Newark Education Workers Caucus, one of two plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement the organization was “appalled by the lack of attention to the needs of the students we teach, and their families and the communities in which they live.”