Financial issues mean some Newark residents can’t avoid lead-tainted water

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Some Newark residents say that financial constraints are preventing them from completely avoiding using lead-contaminated drinking water.

Milton Cameron and his family live on Mead Street in Newark. The family was given a city-issued water filter that is supposed to remove 99% of lead from the water. But Cameron says that he has not used the filter because it wouldn’t fit on his faucet.

And now Newark officials say that the filters may not remove as much lead as originally thought.

"I don't really trust the filters because we don't know how much lead is passing,” says Cameron.

Newark is now giving out free cases of bottled water to residents impacted by the contamination. Cameron says that he feel safer drinking bottled water for now.

But Cameron says that the family still uses tap water for cooking because he says it is too expensive to cook using bottled water.

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“I'm on a fixed income right now,” Cameron says.

Health officials say that boiling tap water does not remove lead and suggest that people do not drink it.

On Mead Street where the Cameron family lives, there is fresh pavement where the street had recently been dug up and the lead-service lines have been replaced. It’s a project subsidized by the city but one that could still cost homeowners up to $1,000 to do so.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Newark drinking water crisis
MORE: Newark drinking water situation FAQ

Officials say that water tested from one of the water filters had lead levels of 57.9 parts-per-billion. The Environmental Protection Agency says that anything over 15 parts-per-billion is considered dangerous.

A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday about whether bottled water should also be given to Newark residents who live in the East Ward.

"We want every person in Newark to have water that's safe to drink,” says Erik Olson with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The hearing will be at 9:30 a.m.

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