Newark will receive a $ 120 million loan to repair its water woes in less than three years, officials said Monday in response to growing public pressure and national attention to the city's ongoing water crisis.
Bottled by Gov. Phil Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras Barak and other officials, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. announces that the county will issue bonds for faster removal of 18,000 old pipes, causing 18,000 old pipes water.
Newark water lines that connect individual homes to underground grids will now be replaced in 24-30 months instead of over a decade.
"This challenge was too important to ignore and I'm happy that Essex is able to help," DiVincenzo says. [1
"I don't want to wait that long," said DiVincenzo. "I want this long-term solution to happen sooner rather than later."
With the new county funds, Baraka said the replacement of lead lines would be completely free of charge for homeowners. Under the original program, homeowners were on the hook for up to $ 1,000 each.
"With this new money, we expect that no one will have to pay anything to have their leading service lines replaced," Baraka said. added that hundreds of homeowners who have already changed their rows will not be charged for work.
The Essex County Improvement Authority will issue bonds free of charge to county taxpayers. Free Essex County holders, Newark City Council and ECIA The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on the bond ordinance on Tuesday. If approved, the money will be available by the fall.
Newark will pay the county $ 6.2 million annually for 30 years. Baraka, however, said Newark's taxes would not increase to pay the bond; it will seek state or federal funding to cover the debt.
US Ambassador Donald Payne, Jr., D-10th District, said he consulted US reporter Dan Kildy of Michigan, who represents Flint, to find federal funding for f or Newark.
"I'm not starting from scratch. I have a program that works, "Payne said." There were federal dollars that were allotted to Flint during that time, and I'm looking to recreate that for Newark. "
The $ 120 million bond will add to the $ 12 million the state has already provided for the first phase of the program, with total funding funded at $ 132.2 million.
DiVincenzo said the bond program will be offered to Bloomfield, Belleville and Nutley, which buy Newark water.
Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venice says the city views the deal as an option. The city is already replacing leading service lines at no cost to property owners and recently borrowed $ 1.1 million to continue this work.
Nutley Mayor Joseph Scarpelli said there are 91 known leading service lines. The city has not reported elevated levels of lead in the water, but officials are only required to test every three years. Scarpelli said officials make cost estimates together.
Belville Mayor Michael Melham called the county bond program "the first real decision I've heard in a month." Belville has elevated lead levels, and 6,000 of its 8,800 service lines have been made.
Melham expressed dissatisfaction with state and federal employees of the crisis this month and asked residents to get filters for now.
"Belleville requires the same assistance that you give to Newark," he says. “I urge federal and state officials to remind them that Belleville residents drink Newark water.
Concerns about lead in Newark water rose earlier this month when the federal government demanded bottled water be distributed to city dwellers after questions were raised about the effectiveness of filters distributed by the city. Baraka said bottled water would go on at least or the problems with the filters would be clarified.
"Replacing leading service lines is the only permanent way to solve this problem," Baraka said. He added that the city would replace lines "as soon as possible."
Federal law requires the manipulation of drinking water to prevent corrosion and contamination of lead pipes. This corrosion treatment failed at the Newark Wastewater Treatment Plant in Pequannock, putting residents at risk in the South, West City and North and Central wards.
A new corrosion control method has been implemented at the Pequannock plant, but it is expected
The rest of the city is served by the Wanaque Water Treatment Plant of the North Jersey Regional Water Supply Commission, where corrosion control works.
All Newark residents, regardless of which water plant they serve, are eligible to replace their leading service lines. Residents must first enroll with the city. The meeting will be held Tuesday evening at the Newark City Hall rotunda at 6:00 pm. for residents who want to learn more about the Lead Line Replacement Program.
Lead is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women and is known to cause problems with knowledge and behavior. Residents concerned about health exposures can call the 24/7 hotline set by the state at 1-866-448-2432.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Newark is not the only city that needs serious investment in infrastructure.
"We have problems with many water systems. The state cannot look for counties to do the job. So we'll talk to the administration to see what we can come up with, "he said. "These are years of neglecting these water systems because no one wants to invest in them."
On Saturday, Barack and Murphy appeared on MSNBC's Al Sharpton show to assure the public that they are moving fast for coping with the problem and
"Certainly, if anyone goes ahead, they must be held accountable," Murphy said. He reiterated that there was no use in declaring a state of emergency as all their resources had not been exhausted.
This story was updated at 16:52 with more information from Newark.
NJ Advance Media reporter Sue Livio contributed to this report.
Read more about NJ.com coverage of New Jersey Water Issues here.
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