- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

SEBRING, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio school district canceled classes Friday after officials issued an advisory that said children and pregnant women shouldn’t drink tap water from a village system because of elevated levels of lead and copper found during tests at a handful of homes connected to the system.

Sebring city manager Richard Giroux issued the advisory Thursday night after seven of 20 homes where tap water is routinely tested showed levels of lead and copper that exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Sebring water system serves around 8,100 customers in the Mahoning County communities of Sebring, Beloit and Maple Ridge. Sebring is about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Classes were canceled for the Sebring school district’s 650 students as a precaution, Giroux said Friday. Messages left with the Sebring schools superintendent weren’t returned on Friday.

Tests showed lead levels at 21 parts per billion at the seven homes. The EPA standard is 15 parts per billion. Lead can cause serious health problems for infants and young children.

Giroux said the elevated levels were detected in older homes with pipes that possibly leached lead and copper because water from the plant might have been slightly acidic. Tests have shown that water leaving the plant and in the system’s distribution pipes is safe, Giroux said.

More tests were being done on Friday. Chemicals will be added at the plant to reduce the water’s acidity if necessary, Giroux said. The village has spent $5 million improvements in recent months to make the water plant “state of the art,” Giroux said.

“I want to make sure we’re delivering a good product,” Giroux said. “It’s better to err on the side of caution until we know what’s happening.”


Information from: WFMJ-TV, https://www.wfmj.com

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