Ohio Environmental Council Recommends Changes in Testing Water for Lead

Feb 6, 2016

The Sebring Community Center has been offering bottled water since the Ohio EPA's water advisories.
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU

An Ohio environmental group is making recommendations on how to handle the elevated lead levels showing up in some tap-water samples. The move comes after officials in the village of Sebring waited months to notify residents of unsafe levels of lead.

 The Ohio Environmental Council’s Trent Dougherty says the state’s system for testing water is flawed and outdated, since it only requires notifications of lead tests as requested. A notification of elevated levels is then required within 60 days on water bills or through a press release. Dougherty says samples should be taken at least once a year.

"Results from those samples -- within 24 hours -- need to be provided to those homeowners or to those schools, whether there is an excedence or not. When there is an excedence, however, then within 24 hours the test results need to be made available to the Ohio EPA. And then within 24 hours after that targeted notification, a full-system education is underway through e-mails, text alerts, press releases, mail sent to all customers in the distribution area.”

 Last week, the Ohio Environmental Council requested public records from the Ohio EPA on Sebring’s water treatment facility.  The EPA says a water advisory will remain in place in Sebring until two rounds of testing come up clean in consecutive six-month periods.  The most recent tests show 3 percent of homes tested have elevated lead levels.