EPA orders Clarksburg to identify homes, businesses with lead service lines
PHILADELPHIA (July 15, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency administrative order Wednesday afternoon directing the Clarksburg Water Board to identify homes and businesses with lead service lines and provide an alternative source of drinking water or filters certified to remove lead to all customers who may be impacted by the lead exposure.
EPA, in coordination with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), determined this action is necessary to protect public health after determining that conditions in the Clarksburg water system may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health.
The EPA order directs the Water Board to immediately identify homes that may be impacted and provide an alternate source of drinking water and/or point-of-use filters certified for lead removal for homeowners where elevated lead levels are known or where suspected lead service lines exist.
Additionally, the Water Board must provide EPA with a copy of its notification to the Clarksburg homeowners indicating steps they can take to reduce lead exposure and that an alternate water supply has been made available or that certified filters were provided. The Water Board must also keep a daily log of which homes have received alternative water or certified filters.
According to the order, the Water Board failed to timely notify the public about the risk of lead exposure as required in an administrative order issued by the WVDHHR on July 2. EPA’s order reinforces the state’s efforts, as well as re-affirming deadlines for work to be performed by the Water Board.
The WVDHHR issued a notice of violation on July 14 citing the Water Board for failing to comply with its July 2 order. Link to WVDHHR press release, which includes links to the notice of violation and WVDHHR’s administrative order can be found here: https://dhhr.wv.gov/News/2021/Pages/DHHR-Issues-Notice-of-Violation-to-Clarksburg-Water-Board.aspx
The issue of lead service lines was first identified by staff in the WVDHHR’s Bureau for Public Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program during environmental lead assessments conducted at the homes of children diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. Drinking water sampling in several homes confirmed lead levels were above the EPA’s action level.
The Clarksburg water system serves approximately 17,686 persons and has 7,913 service connections. In addition, the system provides water to other public water systems that serve an additional 38,225 persons.
Parents of children under age 6 who are living in older homes serviced by the Clarksburg Water Board should discuss the risks of lead exposure with their child's pediatrician to determine if precautionary blood lead testing is needed.
Additional steps all consumers can take include flushing water lines used for drinking and cooking and using bottled water for making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead from water and should not be practiced for lead abatement.
For more information about lead in drinking water, visit: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water
Link to EPA administrative order: https://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/rhc/epaadmin.nsf/07a828025febe17885257562006fff58/c070540d207ab27d8525871300486660!OpenDocument
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