NEWARK, N.J. — Newark’s large-scale bottled water distribution is continuing as officials try to understand the failure of two filters intended to eliminate lead from water.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which earlier called for the water distribution, said Friday that researchers are meeting with city and state officials "on a daily basis" to assess and provide help on the issue.

The EPA says its scientists have helped local officials come up with "a robust sampling plan" to provide representative results about the occurrence of lead in the Pequannock service area.

People leave the Boylan Street Recreation Center with cases of bottled water, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Newark, N.J., after recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests showed elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in some areas of Newark, despite filters that had been distributed earlier. The EPA said that "out of an abundance of caution" residents should use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
Kathy Willens / AP
People leave the Boylan Street Recreation Center with cases of bottled water, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Newark, N.J., after recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests showed elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in some areas of Newark, despite filters that had been distributed earlier. The EPA said that "out of an abundance of caution" residents should use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

The city was to begin the first round of sampling Friday, said the agency, which said it intends to put "an additional team of experts on the ground" in Newark as early as next week.

It remains unclear how much longer residents in about 14,000 households will have to rely on bottled water, NJ.com reported .

"We just started giving out water to make sure people were OK -- precautionary measures -- until we find out what's going on," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a video message posted Thursday.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the city last year over high lead levels, is seeking an injunction ordering Newark to also provide water to other households in another service area that include pregnant women or young children or both.

Elaine Younger, 11, and Tahvion Williams, 14, right, load water in their family's van at the Newark Health Department in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Residents began picking up bottled water on Monday, days after elevated lead levels were found in homes where city-issued filters had been distributed months ago as part of an ongoing effort to combat contamination.
Seth Wenig / AP
Elaine Younger, 11, and Tahvion Williams, 14, right, load water in their family's van at the Newark Health Department in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Residents began picking up bottled water on Monday, days after elevated lead levels were found in homes where city-issued filters had been distributed months ago as part of an ongoing effort to combat contamination.