Press Release

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Common Sense Reforms Will Ensure Safer Drinking Water

Ohio Environmental Council, March 31, 2016

The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) applauds the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) proposed reforms to strengthen state standards on lead and ensure all Ohioans have access to safer drinking water.

“We’ve seen what happened in Sebring, Ohio. Families were left wondering whether their children were exposed to lead and an entire community found itself wondering how to cope with a crisis that could have been prevented.” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council. “We applaud the Ohio EPA for working with us to update and modernize these policies. These timely, common sense reforms will go a long way towards ensuring every Ohioan will have access to safe drinking water.”

The proposed reforms come following the revelation that the residents of Sebring, OH were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. A local official failed to add the anti-corrosive chemicals to the village water supply causing lead to leach into the water. Residents were not properly notified after test results showed excessive levels of lead in the water. The OEC met with local residents, attended the Village Council meeting, and heard first hand, the stories of concerned citizens.

Following these conversations, the OEC developed a comprehensive set of policy proposals aimed at closing the gaps in state and federal laws. Many of these recommendations are included in the Ohio EPA’s proposed reforms. Including common sense provisions that will:

  • Ensure more frequent and more thorough testing
  • Include accountability and enforcement provisions
  • Require transparency and disclosure so those who are affected are notified promptly and given information to properly assess their risk

The proposed reforms are part of Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) package that is set to go before the Ohio Legislature in the coming weeks. The Ohio Legislature must now work swiftly to pass these reforms and ensure all Ohioans have access to clean, safe drinking water. The OEC will continue to work closely with state and federal leaders on this issue.

For more information on the OEC’s efforts on lead, and a timeline of the Sebring water crisis see the following links.

Blog: As Lead Threatens Drinking Water Right Here in Ohio, the OEC Offers Solutions.

Timeline of Events in Sebring