Youngstown--Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and State Representative John Boccieri (D-Poland) issued the following joint statement about the latest developments in the Sebring area water crisis:

“New tests conducted over the weekend have revealed what we feared from the moment we first learned about lead being found in the Sebring area’s drinking water.  According to news reports, five individuals have tested positive for higher levels of lead in their blood.  Additional tests also showed the lead levels in a school and three homes are above federal guidelines for drinking water.  As a result, Sebring schools are closed again today. 

“The people of Sebring and surrounding communities have a right to be upset and question the response to this water crisis.  While the immediate focus is on helping families and making sure the water is safe to drink, Ohio EPA and local officials have more explaining to do.  Why did the village and the EPA not act quicker and more decisively?  Why did the community not find out sooner?

“Last Friday we submitted a list of questions to the Ohio EPA to better understand the sequence of events that led to this crisis.  We still are waiting for a response.  Until we know the answers, the legislature cannot take the necessary steps to prevent this situation from happening again in another Ohio community.  We also call on Craig Butler, the Director of the Ohio EPA, to hold a public meeting in Sebring so residents can ask questions.”

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