TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Just a handful of public drinking water suppliers in Ohio have gone over the federal limit for lead during the past three years.
All are fairly small, with the majority providing water to fewer than 500 customers.
Here are highlights of Environmental Protection Agency data analyzed by The Associated Press and what’s happening in Ohio:
OVER THE LIMIT
Only 19 public water systems in Ohio were among the nearly 1,400 nationwide that have exceeded the federal lead standard at least once since the beginning of 2013.
All of them were fairly small systems including five school or day care water systems and five mobile home parks.
Three village water systems were among those on the list, including Sebring in northeastern Ohio. The drinking water there was found to have elevated lead levels late last summer, but months went by before residents found out.
BIG CITY WATER
None of the state’s biggest public water systems made the list of violators during the last three years. But that doesn’t mean they’re entirely free of lead.
The most recent samples taken at the 20 biggest municipal systems in the state showed that seven had small amounts of lead — still below the federal limit. They included water systems in Cincinnati, Akron and Youngstown.
The EPA considers a water system in violation if its lead levels are 15 parts per billion. Many researchers, though, say no amount of lead is safe.
LEAD IN SCHOOLS
While just five schools or day cares in Ohio were among those going over the federal limit, that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Only schools that have their own water systems are required to test for lead.
That means the wide majority of schools receiving their water from municipal systems don’t need to check their water because it’s done at other locations.
Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration and the state’s EPA have proposed overhauling regulations on lead in drinking water. One of the proposals includes working with schools on replacing drinking fountains and faucets that have lead parts.