SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – Gary Helmick lives just a few yards from Sebring High School, where officials have taken several samples of water that contain lead.
He’s worried for the health of his sons and his family – his 20-month-old son Aaron was tested for lead in May, when his blood level measured for one microgram per deciliter. After a new blood test Sunday at the village community center, his blood-lead level had increased to two micrograms.
That’s still below health guidelines of 5 micrograms for children, but the family is worried.
“It did go up one point. It’s not a big increase, but it’s still an increase,” Helmick said.
Like many other families in Sebring, Helmick and his girlfriend are drinking and cooking with bottled water. They’re wondering how to wash their son, if they can’t get tap water in his eyes or mouth.
For now, Aaron’s doctor is going to keep an eye on the boy’s test results. Until the warning is lifted the family will keep drinking and cooking with bottled water – and using bottled water to rinse after baths.
Helmick said the village should make it up to the water customers.
“They say let your water run for 3 to 5 minutes. They don’t realize how much that is going to affect your bill,” Helmick said. “That’s going to make your bill really high. Not everyone in town can afford that.”
The village dropped off a free test for Helmick’s family to check for lead in their water. He hopes to have results in a few days.