According to letters from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Sebring public water system's lead problems — first publicly acknowledged on Jan. 21
— were identified as early as last November.
Read the letters below.
A Nov. 23 letter from the Ohio EPA expresses concerns over how Sebring water information was being filed with the state agency. Reports show that lead levels higher than the regulatory threshold of 15 parts per billion had been found in multiple locations. Seven residential homes clocked lead levels of 21 parts per billion.
The Ohio EPA ordered the Sebring city government to begin posting "informational notices" about a noted increase in lead levels in the water by Nov. 29, 2015. That did not happen.
Today, the state ordered the suspension of Sebring Water Superintendent Jim Bates amid a criminal investigation into claims that he may have falsified reports pertaining to lead levels in the water system.
"My main concern is to resolve whatever issues there are and make sure the public has quality water," City Manager Giroux told the Youngstown Vindicator
. "Sebring will do whatever it needs to do to make sure that happens. We will do whatever EPA recommends that we do."
Tonight, Giroux will preside over a village council meeting that is sure to touch on the lead advisory and the Ohio EPA's ongoing investigation. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Of course, this major public problem is being forced into the open as a federal state of emergency roils onward in Flint, Mich.