U.S. News

Northeast Ohio residents get bottled water due to lead fears - reports

File photo of Mitzi Kreis (L) and Harry Kreis loading their vehicle with filled water bottles at the Oregon Fire Station in Oregon, Ohio August 3, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

(Reuters) - Volunteers are distributing bottled water this weekend to residents in a northeast Ohio village after tests found elevated lead levels, according to local media reports.

The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency, the village of Sebring and the state agency are coordinating safety efforts after a report by Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency found lead levels that exceed federal standards, according to a report in the Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown.

Sebring village manager Richard Giroux issued an alert on Thursday night after tests found lead levels of 21 parts per billion at seven homes, according to WFMJ-TV in Youngstown.

The U.S. EPA requires alerts when lead levels in water exceed 15 parts per billion.

The news out of Sebring follows weeks of controversy over high lead levels in the water of Flint, Michigan, which has led to calls for the resignation of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Flint’s lead contamination problem came after a 2014 switch in water supplies to save money.

The Sebring village water system serves 8,100 customers in the Mahoning County communities of Sebring, Beloit and Maple Ridge, the Vindicator reported.

Village officials for Sebring, located about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland, were not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Lead is a neurotoxin that can damage brains and cause other health problems.

Reporting by Mary Wisniewski, editing by G Crosse