Thursday, March 31, 2016

Latest MBR Targets Lead Contamination In Ohio Water Supplies

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that the administration’s next Mid-Biennium Review legislation will strengthen prevention measure against unsafe levels of lead in drinking water.

The announcement comes months removed from a controversy over lead contamination in the drinking water of some Sebring homes, which resulted in the firing of two OEPA employees and the demotion of another. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 17, 2016)

The OEPA fact sheet includes several proposals, such as expediting public notice of lead contamination and providing new financial assistance to communities and schools to fight lead.

Among the proposals are calls to:

  • Require water systems to provide homeowners with water test results within two business days, rather than the current 30 days.
  • Grant OEPA the authority to impose administrative penalties on a noncompliant water system.
  • Tighten the timeframe by which a community may conduct a public education campaign
  • Create funding sources to public schools to identify sources of lead in drinking water from outdated, lead-based fixtures.
  • Reduce the use of lead in new construction.
  • Tighten community water testing requirements.

“Ohio has first-hand experience with shortcomings of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act,” according to the OEPA announcement. “By pursuing improvements at the federal level while at the same time strengthening standards for state action, we can better help our communities safeguard their drinking water from lead.”

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Ohio Report.