Lead Contamination Ohio Water: EPA Smells Falsified Report, Suggests Criminal Investigation

January 28
3:41 AM 2016

Schools in the Sebring village have been closed for the 3rd consecutive day on Wednesday. The closure has been followed by detection of higher levels of lead in the water supplied to some homes and buildings. With the detection, Ohio appears to be second mid western state to be plagued by tainted water.

Classes of three schools in Sebring, located some 60 miles (97 km) northeast to Cleveland, have been suspended since Friday. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has hit the village serving a violation notice last week.

The nature of the notice has led the EPA to notify residents of Sebring the first warning centering detection of lead contamination in the water samples. The first warning evokes risks to pregnant women and children and has been served on December 3, reports Reuters.

The Sebring news has been followed weeks of controversy over high lead levels in the water of Flint, Michigan. The detection has led Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to step down, according to a news published in Yahoo News.

Sebring village has a legal obligation to develop a plan to adjust its treatment and processes to minimize lead from leeching into the water from residential piping. It also requires issue quarterly news release cautioning about the potential risks on lead contaminated water.

Moreover, Ohio EPA requires the village to continue testing water samples and provides bottled water or filtration systems to homes where lead level crosses the federal allowable range. The EPA also intends the village to work with county for health screening of the residents, according to a news release furnished in the EPA website.

Samples from Sebring village's water treatment plant have no detectable lead. However, corrosion in pipes for supplying water, the very basic chemistry has caused the lead contamination. The contaminated water has been supplied to 28 homes and a school building, the EPA news release reveals.

The EPA also accuses Sebring's water treatment plant operator of falsifying reports. The agency has reportedly sought assistance from US EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.

All the EPA advisories will remain effective for minimum of one year. Village officials of Sebring haven't immediately responded to a request for comments. Lead is a neurotoxin and presence beyond tolerance limit may cause damage to brains and other health complexities.

Michigan has hit first with the lead contamination controversy that leads its Governor to step down. The Ohio EPA has confirmed the lead contamination supplied water to some homes and a school and issued a violation notice to the village of Sebring. The agency is continuing its testing efforts and will do so till one year. Meanwhile, it has taken steps to supply pure bottled water or setting up water treatment plant for the homes whose supplied water has been found contaminated.

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