How This City Is Fixing Its Toxic Lead Water

How This City Is Fixing Its Toxic Lead Water

Hello, my name is Kareem Adeem. I’m the Acting Director of Department of Water and Sewer Utilities at the city of Newark, New Jersey. So actually what we’re doing here today, we’re replacing lead service lines. The city’s replacing a little
of 18,000 lead service lines in the 24 to 30 mile period. We’re in the Northern, New Jersey. When they first started
building water and sewer infrastructures, the
sewer they were using, wood or clay pipe. And later on, they started
using lead service lines. They didn’t have these
heavy equipment machinery. So we dug holes with picks and shovels. Lead is very flexible. It’s very bendable. So this is a lead service line. Durable, heavy, and they
use lead, like I said, when they were digging trenches, right? Lead’s very flexible. Right? And the late ’30s, mid ’40s,
lead started being scarce. They were having World
War I, World War II. They started using that for bullets. And they started using copper. Copper became a new thing to use. And the machining was different
once they used copper. And we continue to use copper. In the late ’60s, early ’70s, they started looking at PVC,
the little plastic pipe. They use that more now. But all the cities like New
York City, Chicago, Detroit, most of the older cities
on the East Coast, they used lead and they
transitioned over to copper. Technology has improved. As technology improves,
science has improved. So things that we though were
good for us 10 years ago, five years ago, 20 years ago, we’re finding out they’re not. In 1953, Newark banned the use of lead. If you built a new home,
you had to use copper. If you made a repair
on an old lead service that was leaking, you had
to replace it with copper. In 1986, the Federal Government
banned the use of lead and lead solder. Health defects of lead. To replace all the lead services in the entire United States. Today that price is between
60 to $80,000,000,000. So in 1991, they came up
with corrosion control, ways that you can prevent
lead from leaching into water. No raising the PH,
putting in orthophosphate or sodium silicate. They would create a prophylactic
liner throughout the pipe that would prevent lead
from leaching into water. 2017, after 25 years, the city had it’s first lead exceedence. Which required the city
to take a number of steps to find out what was going on. And also educate the public
about having a lead exceedence. In October of 2018, the US EPA let us know that
the corrosion inhibitor that we currently were using was failing. That liner was coming apart. So Newark, at that time,
decided to give out 39,000 free water filters to its customers as an immediate relief to protect lead from leaching into the water. In April of 2018, we rolled out the lead
service replacement program. And a year later, started
replacing lead service lines. We just want to get rid of lead services. We don’t want to keep
having to put chemical, find the chemical 20 years
from then they may fail again. Let’s just get rid of the lines. This crew right here is responsible to replace 25 lead service lines per day. They come in, they make arrangements with the homeowner saying, “Are you gonna be available
tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m.?” We’re gonna come and do a
pre-inspection the night before. Letting the homeowner know at
seven in the morning today. We’re gonna start construction to replace the lead service line. It could be a full replacement, which would be from the water main to the house. Or it could be a partial replacement, meaning they have copper
from the meter to the curb, and they have lead coming form the curb to the city’s water main. This crew is actually do a
partial in this home right now. They’re gonna do from
the street to the curb. They’ll tie in those two copper pipes with a little valve. In this house, they’re
doing a full replacement. They’re using a bullet
trenchless technology. Trenchless technology allows
us not to make an open cut. We’re doing a trench from
the building all the way to the street into the city’s water main. So we use these little moles
or bullets they call them that penetrates underneath the ground. To make a hole, they either pull the pipe or push a pipe through. So the bullet works by compressed air. It’s a compressor air hose. And the air pressure’s just
forcing it to come through like it’s a mole. And it just penetrates through through the soil. This is going through. And we can reach into
the city’s water main. So now we created a hole where we’re gonna push
the copper pipe through. Right and they bring it through. And also you seen earlier, they hook up a little cable
wire onto the copper pipe, and we pull that cable, and as they’re pulling that cable, it just rings the copper
pipe through the hole. After the plumber comes, and made the connection at the meter, he tied that in, we flush it out for about 30 minutes. We come back out, we re-compact these holes, just a temporary patch
that we do on the street. After all the lead
service lines are replaced on this whole block, the city’s gonna come,
probably in the Spring, and mill and pave this whole block. Gonna put new asphalt down. But little over 2200 have been
removed throughout the city. And how many are there in total? About a little over 18,000. We’re also employing local
residents on these projects, and putting money back in the community as we do these replacements too. We work in extreme weather conditions. When it’s raining, we’re working. When it’s snowing, we’re working. When it’s 100 degrees, we’re working. When it’s below 10 degrees, we’re working. Everybody needs water. Everyday.

You May Also Like

About the Author: John Markowski


  1. This 3D VR180 video is viewable in full 3D with a VR headset (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) or with Google Cardboard. If viewing on desktop or mobile, click and drag your mouse or rotate your phone to explore a wider range of vision.


    The Role of Lead and Cadmium in Psychiatry

    Orish Ebere Orisakwe

    Additional article information


    Psychiatric disorders are associated with long-term disability and huge social and economic costs. The possible influence of heavy metals exposure on public health remains a matter of concern. A recurring research question that persisted among researchers in neuropsychiatry has been “are psychiatric patients more likely to have a high body burden of lead or other heavy metals?” This is an update account on the role of lead and cadmium in psychiatry. This review, which has employed search words like “lead and cadmium in psychiatry”, “lead and cadmium in schizophrenia”, “lead and cadmium in psychosis” in citation indices such as PubMed, Google Scholar, Scirus, and Scopus. A total of 415 articles were found; 60 fulfiled the inclusion criteria. Evidence-based information suggests that lead and cadmium may be involved in psychiatry. Should environmental lead and cadmium be implicated in the etiogenesis of psychiatry given the characteristic high environmental pollution in Sub Sahara Africa, it is worthwhile for toxicologists and scientists in Sub-Sahara Africa to investigate if lead and cadmium can become additional biomarkers in the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.

    Keywords: Cadmium, Environmental health, Lead, Psychiatry


    Neurological diseases and disorders are rarely unidimensional or unifactorial. Even those diseases, whose etiologies seem closely linked to genetic predispositions, tend to be the product of multiple and intertwined risk factors, of which environmental chemical exposures may serve as one component.[1] Psychiatric conditions including madness, mania, melancholia, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) are mental illnesses of unknown etiology, typically diagnosed in adolescence or adulthood. These diseases, which lack definitive curative modality, are frequently associated with long-term disability and huge social and economic costs. 

    According to Freeman (1984), areas with high population densities are associated with higher rates of criminality, mortality, social isolation, air pollution, and noise.[2] Rates of psychiatric disorders seem to correlate with urbanization. Following the Dohrenwend and Dohrenwend contribution on psychiatric disorders in urban settings,[3] other workers have shown higher overall rates in urban areas and specifically, somewhat higher rates for depression.[4,5,6,7,8] The breeder hypothesis assumes that various environmental factors cause illness. Urbanization is modestly but consistently associated with the prevalence of psychopathology.[9] Dekker et al. (2008)[10] confirmed that psychiatric disorders are more common in more urbanized areas in Germany. They opined that the urban-rural differences may be related to environmental risk factors. Van Os et al.[11] found a relation between psychotic symptoms and the lifetime prevalence of psychotic disorders, and between psychotic symptoms and urbanization. 

    The association between environmental lead exposure with aggressive behavior, and dimensionality of direct and indirect aggression during mid-adolescence: Birth to Twenty Plus cohort
    Author links open overlay panelPalesaNkomoabNishaNaickeraefAngelaMatheeaefJackyGalpincLinda M.RichterbdShane A.Norrisbd
    Show more rights and content

    Higher blood lead levels are associated with direct aggression in mid-adolescence.

    Males have higher blood lead levels than females during mid-adolescence.

    Adolescent males are positively associated with direct aggressive behavior.

    Adolescent females are positively associated with indirect aggressive behavior.

    Sociodemographic factors at birth influence dimensions of aggression later in life. 

    Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape

    Brian B. Boutwell, Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Erik J. Nelson, Data curation, Formal analysis, […], and Richard Rosenfeld, Data curation, Writing – review & editing

    Additional article information

    Associated Data

    An increasing body of research has linked the geographic distribution of lead with various indicators of criminal and antisocial behavior.


    The current study, using data from an ongoing project related to lead exposure in St. Louis City, MO, analyzed the association between aggregate blood lead levels and specific indicators violent crime within the city.


    Ecological study.


    St. Louis, Missouri.

    Exposure measure

    Blood lead levels.

    Main outcome measure

    Official reports of violent crimes were categorized as 1) crimes involving a firearm (yes/no), 2) assault crimes (with or without a firearm), 3) robbery crimes (with or without a firearm), 4) homicides and 5) rape.


    With the exception of rape, aggregate blood-lead levels were statistically significant predictors of violent crime at the census tract level. The risk ratios for each of the outcome measures were as follows: firearm crimes 1.03 (1.03–1.04), assault crimes 1.03 (1.02–1.03), robbery crimes 1.03 (1.02–1.04), homicide 1.03 (1.01, 1.04), and rape 1.01 (0.99–1.03).

  3. Great video!! Murder and making enemies is funded without questioning or figuring out "how to pay for it" with taxes. . It's now obvious to We The People that these wars exist ONLY for business reasons… Selling weapons create billionaires quickly… No war =s zero income for weapons makers and sellers… Not insane to believe they will do ANYTHING to keep their large income flowing!!!

  4. Awesome! There is some progress in improving the pipes affecting water displayed in this video, and I hope Flint, Michigan gets help! Thank you so much for posting.

  5. Com'on Newark, Get your Led out ( ) it's also more like 20 minutes than 30 from Manhattan on either the PATH or NEC.

  6. The federal government should have ordered municipalities to immediately dig out the existing lead pipes in 1986 (the back only prohibited NEW lead pipes from being laid down). Instead we are now addressing this disaster 30 years later! At least 3 or 4 generations have been drinking the lead water which causes brain damage.

  7. Kareem gives me faith that their are actual people who know what they are doing in government. He should probably run for Mayor

  8. this 180 degree documentary is so confusing what i am expecting to do watch if i can literally stop looking at the hole thing and watch the grass lol

  9. Rofl you gullible suckers. Coming from the inside of issues that make Jersey bad are these "politicians" if you only knew what happens behind closed doors you would tar and feather ever politican on both sides. Being mayor,working for the county or a town. Some of these guys have 3 pensions going on. They only fix things because it benefits them. Why do you think the roads even in some rich neighborhoods are like ww2 l? Does not benefit them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *