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Ohio EPA refused to warn residents about toxic lead in drinking water despite knowing about it for months


(NaturalNews) One of the Environmental Protection Agency's core functions is the enforcement of provisions contained, which includes "the authority to implement pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry," and to assist states in ensuring that the general public has safe drinking water.

But in recent months, the EPA seems to have forgotten this core function or, at a minimum, its bureaucrats have simply been too distracted by other priorities imposed by the Obama administration to pay much attention to their basic duties.

Recently a scandal involving contaminated water in Flint, Mich., came to a head, in which regional EPA officials were aware that the city's water system was contaminated with lead. But now, there has been a second case of lead-tainted water that the agency was aware of but did nothing to fix, this time in Sebring, Ohio.

As reported by The Columbus Dispatch and The Daily Sheeple, Ohio state environmental officials were aware as early as last October that residents of the small town – located in Mahoning County, about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland – were consuming lead-tainted water, but failed to warn the general public.

No one took responsibility, including the one federal agency that was supposed to

Instead, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch:

"... the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency sent multiple warnings to the Sebring Water Treatment Plant, demanding that operators there notify the public that tests showed elevated lead levels. The EPA even set a deadline of Nov. 29 to notify customers of the health threat.

"No warnings were issued, according to the EPA."

Epic fail.

Testing that took place between June and September found high lead levels in water at a number of older homes in communities that are served by the Sebring plant. Lead, as Natural News readers know, is known to cause nervous system damage and harm to the reproductive system and kidneys. Young children and the unborn are even more susceptible to lead toxicity.

"High lead levels in children can cause behavioral issues, mental retardation and learning disabilities. And it can be fatal at high levels," the paper noted.

However, the EPA did not issue any notice of violations to the treatment plant until Jan. 21, which finally prompted a public notice – at which time some 8,100 people who obtain their drinking water from the Sebring system found out they were being exposed to toxins.

Days ago, the state began sending bottled water to residents and customers of Sebring, along with water testing kits. Schools in the surrounding area were closed. And state regulators have said that two of the 123 water samples taken from schools in the Sebring area came back with levels of copper and lead that exceeded federal limits.

In recent days officials with the Ohio EPA also said that the most recent water test at the time at three separate schools in Sebring turned up excessive levels of lead at two drinking fountains. Officials added that 22 other samples have shown evidence of lead that was actually below federal levels, while the rest of them showed none.

'That's a good question'

These discoveries have led the EPA to issue "an emergency order barring the water-treatment plant's director, James Bates, from working at the plant," the paper reported. "The EPA has said that Bates falsified records to the EPA, which is calling for a criminal investigation."

The Dispatch reached Bates at his home, where he defended himself, claiming he has not falsified data in 23 years on the job, and that the EPA is attempting to make him the scapegoat after not acting more quickly themselves.

"We did 40 samples, and we sent all the information to the 40 people who actually (lived) where the water was tested," he said, noting that the plant sent some public notifications in December.

But the test period was between June 1 and Sept. 30. When asked why those notifications did not go out sooner, he had no answer.

"That is a very good question," he said. "And I've got to wait until I get the (Ohio EPA) authorization, and then I can definitely answer that question."

Keep up with all of the failings of the federal Environmental Protection Agency at: EPAWatch.org.




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