Sebring resident, with background in water quality, tests pH

A Sebring resident, with a background in water quality testing, tests the pH levels of his water at home.

SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – Sebring resident Jim Ulman said he has more than 90 hours of training in industrial hygiene and toxicology. He used to be responsible for a Canton company’s water quality for over 25 years and was required to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.

After testing the pH of the village’s water, Ulman believes the acidity levels from this summer could play a factor in the current water crisis.

Photos: Timeline of Sebring’s lead levels

In the fall of 2014, Ulman said his pet fish died because he was having issues keeping balanced pH levels in the water.

A pH level of 7 is neutral. Levels above are akali and below are acidic. The EPA recommends that drinking water have a pH level between 6.5 and 8.5.

Ulman said in July, he had readings below 6.4.

“Those readings were sporadic. One or two days they’d be up, then the next day they would be normal,” he said. “I think what we’re experiencing now is residual from that earlier period where we were getting too much acid.”

To test the water, Ulman used a kit he purchased at Wal-Mart. When he placed an old coin in the water for two hours, the pH dropped to match those from July.

Ulman then tested the water from his sink, which was around 7.3.

“Part of this process of cleaning that water is really low-tech stuff,” he said.

He said adding the correct chemicals would have fixed the pH levels, and if Sebring had monitored the levels, it would have protected people’s health.

“All night long that water is sitting there, eating away at those pipes when it’s too acidic,” he said.

Ulman said if the water department was watching the water correctly, it would have known the levels were off on the first day.

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