Berea mayor says drinking water is still safe

Berea's mayor says testing procedures were done wrong on water

BEREA - Angie McKitrick grew up in Berea and said the water has always been a little off. Sometime it would come out of her faucet brownish, even smelly.

“You just said ‘that’s Berea water. That’s the way it goes!’” she said. “Springtime usually that was the time.”

But now, there may be bigger concerns, after lead turned up in 2 out of 30 homes recently tested in a city study.

Mayor Cyril Kleem alleges the homeowners who submitted those samples may not have followed guidelines.

“If we had a city-wide lead problem, all the tests would have shown high levels,” he said, pointing out that one of the samples came from a home where the faucet had not run in days.

“Typically, when you detect lead in a home, it’s because the sample was taken incorrectly or there’s lead in the plumbing,” he said. “Oftentimes that gets confused with lead in the water plan and the distribution system.”

He said the city informed the public because of a new rule that obligates them to whenever there is a suspicion of lead in the water. He does not believe this should be cause for concern.

Late Friday afternoon, the city announced in a statement that 13 additional samples were 'hand-carried' to Columbus. The Ohio EPA informed Berea that the levels of lead in 12 of the samples were "undetectable" and the other had a reading under action-level.

Berea also retested the water at the two homes with the positive lead samples. According to the Ohio EPA's analysis, the level in one home is under action-level. The other home had an undetectable reading in the kitchen, but an elevated reading in the basement. That reading is likely caused by lead in the pipes or solder. 

Water leaving Berea's Water Treatment Plant was also tested. The city's statement says, "Consistent with every test for lead ever conducted at the Plant, the level was undetectable."

The results are considered 'interim' until the last two samples are analyzed by the Ohio EPA. They will be hand carried to Columbus on Saturday. 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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