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Health & Science

Portman says The Federal EPA Needs to Step Up With Lead Notification if State's Don't

Sen. Rob Portman

  Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman says he supporting one measure to help protect water systems from lead contamination and is considering another. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on federal proposals to address water problems in Sebring, Ohio, Flint, Michigan and beyond.

Portman says he’s interested in seeing the final language proposed by Sen. Sherrod Brown, who’s sponsoring a bill that requires the federal EPA to notify communities of lead contamination if the state doesn’t do so within 15 days.

Portman  is a co-sponsor of another measure by Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. And he says state, federal and local officials in Ohio appear to be working together now to deal with Sebring’s problems.

“It doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen again some other place and that’s one reason I’m supporting the Stabenow legislation ... which is an attempt to say, ‘Let’s be sure there is notification to these communities more quickly (and) second that there be this opportunity to get matching loans; you have to have local and state, but this would be a federal match.”

The money from that measure would be used to upgrade aging water systems, in which lead has leached from pipes into drinking water supplies.

Stabenow’s $600 million amendment to an energy bill to help Flint clean up its water stalled during debate over its cost and debate us expected to continue over the weekend.