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Government & Politics

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Brown is Sponsoring a Bill to Require Faster Notification and Response to Lead

A photo of Sherrod Brown.

  Ohio’s senior senator plans to introduce a bill tomorrow to make major changes in what happens when officials detect elevated levels of lead in water supplies. 


Documents show the Ohio EPA knew there were problems with lead contamination in the water in the Northeast Ohio village of Sebring in October, but the public didn’t find out until January.

That’s because the EPA left it local officials to make the contact. 

Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown’s bill would require the federal EPA to notify people of problems within 15 days if the state fails to do so. It also shortens the time frame for a clean-up plan from 18 months to six, requires a plan to deliver safe water in the interim, and mandates that the EPA post annual water quality reports on line. 

Brown says what’s happened in Sebring and Flint is a violation of trust. 

“The whole issue is public health and safety and accountability and we saw a betrayal of these local communities and these local people by people who should have known better.”  

Brown says he’ll ask Ohio’s GOP senator, Rob Portman, to join him in sponsoring the bill. And he says he’s backing an amendment to another bill to speed federal money to Flint for cleanup.

Brown says he’s not calling for anyone to resign until he knows more about who knew what – and when.

“I’m more interested in getting water to people in Sebring and making sure this doesn’t happen again. But certainly a governor, Democrat or Republican governor is going to have to respond if their EPA knew this and withheld it from residents.”

While campaigning for president in New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told the Associated Press his EPA did everything that could have been expected.