Potential for lead runoff existed in Sebring every summer since ’13

sebring ohio water treatment plant
The Sebring, Ohio water treatment plant.

SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – Monday, the fallout from the finding of elevated levels of lead in Sebring’s water system continues.

The Sebring Village Solicitor emailed a statement to First News Monday morning, saying:

The Village of Sebring is working closely with the Ohio EPA and the Mahoning County Health Department regarding the results found in random water samples taken from site locations recommended by the OEPA. The Ohio EPA advised the Village that the Sebring water plant is not in violation for lead or copper.

Interim Sebring Water Plant Manager Kris Harshman said the EPA hasn’t tested for lead in Sebring in three years, and in that time conditions for lead contamination have occurred every summer.

Drinking water should have a PH level between 6.5 and 8.5. But anything below 7.0 can start to eat away at pipes. During the summer months in Sebring, PH levels got to 6.3 and even lower. That means the water could be eating away at old metal pipes.

WKBN asked the village to show the daily water testing reports for the last three years and discovered that those PH levels have dipped low every summer since 2013.

Harshman said he has started adding in a new chemical to raise those PH levels, acting on EPA recommendations.

Water customers say they think the village tried to hide the test results.

“They’ve known for quite some time, according to what they say online,” customer Lyn Davis said. “And I don’t understand why they wouldn’t tell us, so they could keep us from having to go through illness or whatever.”

County EMA director Dennis O’Hara said his agency will keep making sure there is clean bottled water for people to drink as long as it’s needed.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Sebring has a regularly-scheduled council meeting at the Municipal Building on East Ohio Avenue. It will be open to the public, and the water situation is expected to be a major topic of discussion.

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