Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) issued the following statement after the Ohio EPA fired two employees and demoted another in response to the agency's failure to adequately address the Sebring water crisis:

“As we suspected, this announcement confirms that the Ohio EPA was not doing its job to protect the residents of Sebring from dangerous drinking water. Based on the vague responses we have received from the EPA, we still do not know the full extent of the failures at the agency.  Other employees, including higher-ranking officials, may also share responsibility and they must be held accountable.

“We need to take all the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again.  The General Assembly should act now to pass legislation that requires the Ohio EPA and local water systems to notify the public much sooner when potential dangers are discovered.  The water crisis in Sebring cannot be repeated in any Ohio community.”

Last month, elevated lead levels were found in Sebring's drinking water, which closed schools and raised fears for parents of small children. The public was not notified for months after tests first revealed the contamination. 

Senator Schiavoni has introduced Senate Bill 269 to require the Ohio EPA and local water systems to issue public notification quickly when lead or other dangerous contaminants are found in drinking water. For more detail about the senator's bill, click here.

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