New requirements aim to keep Ohioans safe from lead contamination in their drinking water.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency now requires each public water system to give residents 45 days’ notice when lead pipes will be worked on. They have to provide filters if a pipe is being replaced.
An Ohio EPA spokesperson says lead can potentially break free inside the pipe and contaminate drinking water during repairs. She also says water systems with older infrastructure may have more issues enforcing these new rules.
Akron Water Supply Bureau Manager Jeff Bronowski says he’s not too worried about complying with the new rules. He estimates there are less than 5,000 lead service lines in the city, down from about 50,000 in 1950.
“The fact is we only have a small percentage of our customer base that now has a lead service, so it won’t be as difficult for Akron as it will be for other communities,” Bronowski says.
Bronowski is more concerned about another proposed rule, which would add requirements to lead pipe repairs during emergencies. That rule will go before a review committee in the Ohio legislature sometime this month.