Flint, Michigan, finally has some competition — and it's not a good thing. Higher than normal lead levels have been found in the water supply at 30 Newark, New Jersey, schools. The abnormal lead levels were found during an annual check of water systems inside Newark schools.
According to officials, the water was so toxic that the state immediately had to ship bottled water to the affected schools. High lead levels have been a problem in New Jersey over the last couple of years. In 2014 alone, 3000 New Jersey children under the age of six have suffered lead poisoning.
Urban areas like Newark have been affected the most, which is very similar to what is going on with the water supply in Flint, Michigan. In New Jersey, lead paint appears to be the problem. Older homes with lead paint are peeling and contaminating local water supplies.
This is not only a northern New Jersey problem, but an issue in the south of the state as well. Camden, New Jersey, schools have tested positive for lead as well — and like Newark, the Camden school district has switched to bottled water.
Lawmakers and community activists are sounding off about the water situation in New Jersey. Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Housing and Community Network of New Jersey, stated the situation in New Jersey is “an epidemic that needs to be fixed.”
The problem was actually in the process of being repaired. $10 billion was allocated to fix the water situation in cities such as Newark and Camden, but the provisions were taken out by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie via a line item veto.
Christie, who's been on the campaign trail for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, stated in a recent press conference that the contaminated water supply has been over “dramatized.” Despite this proverbial slap in the face, many New Jersey lawmakers are steadfast in giving affected areas the help they need.
Sen. Kip Bateman said he would sponsor a bill to set aside $20 million dollars for abatement in Newark and any other New Jersey localities dealing with lead contamination issues.