SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – A mostly empty cafeteria was the scene of another round of lead blood tests Monday at BL Miller School in Sebring.
The free clinic was open to pregnant and breastfeeding women and children ages six and younger who receive their water from the Village of Sebring Public Water System.
The Mahoning County District Board of Health says it tested five times less people Monday than it did on Sunday.
Terrie Miller’s family was one of the families who chose to get the lead level blood tests. The Millers have lived in Beloit for a year and had the children tested for precautionary measures.
Miller says her lifestyle has not changed too much since she was notified of the elevated lead levels.
“I just buy more bottled water, that’s about it,” she said.
About 30 people were tested Monday, and only one of those results had high levels of lead. On Sunday, 176 people were tested, with five having elevated levels of lead — or more than 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.
Those people were referred to their physicians.
Tracy Styka, community health education specialist with the Mahoning County District Board of Health, said high levels of lead in the blood could cause cognitive disabilities later in life.
“It’s not an acute condition. It’s more of a chronic condition,” Styka said.
Someone having lead levels of more than 10 micrograms per deciliter in their blood would require an investigation of their home. No one has tested above those levels yet in Sebring.
The Board of Health is offering more blood screenings in Goshen Township on Wednesday. Those tests will be offered by appointment only.
People in Sebring have also been offered home water test kits through the village. Since early last week, the village has passed out about 800 of them, but results won’t be back until the end of the week. Another 1,000 kits will be delivered Tuesday.
The panic in the community has waned a bit. Michelle Holbrook said she is committed to the community and plans to stay put.
“A 100-year-old home where I live, so I know I am at risk. I still choose to be here. I still choose to live here,” Holbrook said.
The state of Ohio stopped supplying bottled water to the community. The supply now is being donated and purchased by the village. So far, nearly 380,000 have been passed out.
City Manager Richard Giroux has been working the phones and Internet trying to find a qualified person to operate the Sebring Water Plant since the state revoked permits for Water Superintendent James Bates. Officials with the Ohio EPA have also put two of its own employees on paid leave for their handling of the water crisis.
If the fix for the lead problem involved repairs and replacements to pipes, residents could be facing thousands of dollars in renovations.
Sebring water distribution update:
All Sebring water customers are eligible to receive water, unless a residence or business has been cleared by testing. Each qualifying household will receive the equivalent of one gallon, per person, per day. No customer will receive a distribution exceeding six days. Customers must have their residence or business tested or will be disqualified from receiving free water.
Criteria to receive water:
- Current resident of impacted area (Sebring Water Customer, MUST show proof)
- Current businesses of impacted area (Sebring Water Customer, MUST show proof)
Distribution Center: Sebring Community Center, 305 W. Texas Ave., Sebring, OH 44672
- Monday, February 1, 8 .m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 2, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, February 3, 7 a.m. to Noon
- Thursday, February 4, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday, February 5, 7 a.m. to Noon
- Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday – Closed
Further distribution hours for next week will be determined. Special needs requests please contact City Hall 330-938-9340. Updates will be posted on the Village of Sebring website.