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Health & Science

Lead in Drinking Water Could Be a Statewide Ohio Problem

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STEVE JOHNSON FLICKR CC
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Lead in the drinking water in the village of Sebring, Ohio, may not be an isolated incident, according to an Ohio EPA spokeswoman.

Heidi Griesmer says the agency is monitoring water systems throughout the state.

Griesmer acknowledges that the Ohio EPA could have been more aggressive in pushing Sebring water officials to notify customers of lead issues earlier.

She says the state agency is asking the US EPA to step up water quality enforcement requirements.

"Right now, under the federal rules -- other than notifying customers right away -- water systems don’t have to do anything to fix the problem. There’s no immediate action that’s required. It can take months or years before anything is fixed, and we don’t think that is acceptable."

Griesmer says Ohio’s policies for ensuring a safe drinking water supply are based on the federal rules.

The US EPA in 2005 estimated that about 4 percent of the nation’s water systems have elevated levels of lead.