Drinking water is a critical part of day to day life for roughly seven billion people world wide, which includes about 12 million Ohioans. But for some Ohioans, their drinking water isn’t exactly drinkable.
There are 62 locations throughout Ohio with drinking water advisories in effect, put in place by the Ohio EPA (OEPA). Water advisories can range from alerts about the presence of bacteria to warnings not to drink the water due to concentrated levels of manganese.
So, what is a drinking water advisory? It’s a notification, sent out by the EPA regarding contaminants in drinking water.
“…More than 95 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards,” according to the OEPA.
When those health-based standards aren’t met, or a contaminant is found in a water system, a notification is sent out via an announcement. These advisories are also marked on an interactive map. The map offers a look into the type of contaminant, start of the advisory and the affected area.
What happens after an area is notified of the advisory?
Southeast High School, a public school in Portage County, was placed under an advisory in the fall of 2017 for lead contamination. Several of the tap water faucets tested positive for high lead levels and were put out of service.
According to Southeast Superintendent Robert Dunn, there was no contamination found in drinking fountains at the time of testing. After roughly $300 in repairs and replacements the contamination was deemed to be taken care of according to school officials. That took place in the fall of 2017 soon after the advisory was issued. In spring 2017, the faucets were tested again and no lead was found.
However, as of press time the school remains on the OEPA list of areas with drinking water advisories.
So the question then is the list of advisories kept up to date and if so how are the areas under advisory taken off of the list if they meet all requirements?