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N.J. DEP Submits Plan To Test Water For Lead At Newark Schools

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A plan has been launched to thoroughly test the water for lead at public schools in Newark.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection submitted the proposal to the federal government Friday. The plan is to test every faucet and fountain in each of the 67 schools in Newark.

On Wednesday, the DEP said it found elevated lead levels at various taps in recent tests at 30 Newark schools. CBS2's Meg Baker reported officials first realized there was an issue at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School last Thursday where there were reports of discolored water.

Christopher Cerf, superintendent of Newark Public Schools, told CBS2 he was first briefed on the issue on Monday. However, parents were not notified until Wednesday afternoon.

"Well, we needed to put a plan in place... By the way, we received assurance this was not high-level emergency nature that a day would make," Cerf said.

Parents were alarmed by the delay.

"I was not aware. I didn't know until you told me," Sabrina Olivier told CBS2's Meg Baker. "The children do need water to stay hydrated during the day. That's very alarming. As a parent, not knowing, that's even more alarming."

The Newark Public Schools system supplied the schools with alternate water for drinking and for food preparation.

The DEP says no lead has been found in the Newark Water Department's source water, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka blamed old pipes, and not the water supply, for the elevated lead levels.

You can check results of water samples at public schools by clicking here. For additional information about lead in the water, click here. For facts about health impacts of lead in water, click here. Click here for complete results of recent water testing (.pdf).

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