Lead found in city of Berea's drinking water distribution system - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Lead found in city of Berea's drinking water distribution system

Berea (Source: WOIO) Berea (Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)

In recent test results, the city of Berea Water Treatment Plant has detected lead in levels exceeding the federal/state action level.

Samples were taken from June 2 to June 15, 2017.

List of places where you can get your water tested

EPA: Learn about Lead

Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Some residents told Cleveland 19 they use water filters at home because of their concerns.

RELATED: Tests conducted by Cleveland 19 News show concern

The city's water treatment plant would have to take action to correct a problem when the 90th percentile (90 percent of sample results below this value) for lead sample results is at 15 Micrograms per liter (µg/L) or above. The plant had two samples out of 15 collected that exceeded µg/L.

The plant is presently making adjustments to its treatment process and also is retesting lead levels. The plant has contacted three local laboratories certified to perform chemical analysis on public drinking water.

Lead typically enters the water primarily as a result of corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing.

Mayor Cyril Kleem says this is all because of new state regulations. He said officials have found no lead issues at the city's water plant and in fire hydrants.

The city will do more testing on Friday and they expect to get results back in five business days.

"Because we're now required to notify people, it sounds like we have a widespread lead issue, but we don't," he said. "These are isolated cases usually resolved as bad testing."

Kleem believes the water is safe to drink. He said he drinks it every day.

"Any home 30 or 40 years older, you could have lead in the house, but that's not lead in the water," he said.

Below is a statement from the city of Berea:

Routine testing for lead was conducted between June 2 - 15.

Two of 15 samples had lead levels above the action level established by the Ohio EPA and that resulted in the public notice issued earlier today.

Additional testing has been scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, June 30, and will be sent to the lab immediately for analysis. We hope to get results from these latest tests within five business days.

EPA regulations permit the testing to be done by either water plant personnel or by the resident end-user.  Historically, the City permitted residents to provide testing samples.  The resident is instructed to follow certain procedures before the test and to use the same sink they would normally drink from, using cold water only.  The City relies on the resident to strictly comply with the testing instructions.  However, if they fail to follow these guidelines, the results could be inaccurate.  The OEPA Public Information Office can confirm the circumstances that may have caused the elevated results.

The required tests are taken inside the structure at a normal drinking tap like in a bathroom or kitchen.  Many homes still have lead piping or lead solder in the home, which will cause an elevated result. 

Residents with concerns that they may have lead piping or solder should contact a plumber to determine what action, if any, will be required of the homeowner.

It is important to note that all tests for lead in the water distribution system itself come back with “undetectable” levels of lead. 

We continue to work closely with OEPA officials to determine the cause of the two elevated readings and hope to provide an update tomorrow.

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