Tainted water, ignored warnings and a boss with a criminal past

passaic river, newark, new jersey environment

NICK CORASANITI, COREY KILGANNON and JOHN SCHWARTZ / NY TIMES – In the year after receiving test results showing alarming levels of lead in this city’s drinking water, Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark made a number of unexpected decisions.

He mailed a brochure to all city residents assuring them that “the quality of water meets all federal and state standards.”

He declared the water safe and then condemned, in capital letters on the city’s website, “outrageously false statements” to the contrary.

And he elevated an official to run the city’s water department who had served four years in prison for conspiring to sell five kilograms of cocaine …

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