A few hours ago The City of Newark hosted a “State of Water” town hall gathering at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). The art center held a generous crowd of Newark residents, press, city officials, and local guests. There has been a serious questioning about the safety in the city’s drinking water and has caused an uproar for quite some time.
The participants in the panel included Commissioner Catherine McCabe, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Chris Sturm, Managing Director of Policy and Water at New Jersey Future; Kareem Adeem, Acting Director of Water and Sewer Utilities for the City of Newark; Shereef Elnahal, MD, President CEO of University Hospital; Hanan Tanous, MD, Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Medical Director of NJ WIC program; and Lourdemillard Bellevue, MD, New Beth Israel Medical Center.
Members of the Newark Water Coalition started to disrupt the conversation by yelling at the Mayor. The Honorable Ras Baraka responded, ” You either want the information or you don’t. They don’t want you to hear the information. They don’t live in the city of Newark, this one that’s talking living in West Orange ( responding to a water coalition staff member that was rudely interrupting the mayor and panelist.”
Kareem Adeem who is the city’s Managing Director of Policy and Water explained to the crowd with a brief presentation of Newark’s plumbing history. Adeem demonstrated with pipes that have been installed in some of the city’s oldest buildings and new structures. This gave us a clear and better understanding of this issue. However, there were still questions that needed to be answered and the mayor along with the managing director did an excellent job of explaining to the press/media in a private conference that followed afterward about the issue.
IMU staff writer James Monahan a.k.a “The Ish” had the opportunity to ask the mayor a question in regards to the water crisis.
James Mononah: Realistically, how long do you think it will take for the water in Newark to be safe for the residents to drink?
Mayor Ras Baraka: I know that the zinc over phosphate is getting into the system. I know that it’s driving led levels down, but we can’t tell the people it’s ok to drink the water even though the led levels are reducing or maybe reducing we have to do two consecutive testing periods.
Take the time to check out the town hall meeting below.