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Columbus Complies With State Requirement To Map Locations Of Lead Pipes

Credit columbus.gov/utilities

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says half of the state's public drinking water systems are in danger of missing a deadline requiring them to map out their lead pipes. 

The surveys need to be turned in by today. The agency says it has received maps from half of the nearly 19 hundred public drinking water systems. Spokesperson Heidi Griesmer says most of the missing maps are from smaller systems that failed to maintain records.

Those who fail to meet the deadline will get another reminder next week.  The requirement came last year as part of an overhaul of how the state and cities deal with lead in drinking water.  Columbus officials have posted online a map showing where lead pipes exist.  The interactive map that is posted on the Columbus Department of Public Utilities website  allows the user to view publicly-owned lead service lines, to search by address or scroll to a street level view. It also provides links to information to reduce lead exposure. Meanwhile, a new report by an environmental organization shows Ohio fares poorly in protecting children from lead contamination in school drinking water sources. The Environment America Research and Policy Center says Ohio is one of more than a dozen states failing to protect children. John Rumpler with Environment Ohio says most schools can't afford to test for lead contamination. Those that can test get varying results due to the corrosion of the pipes.

Virginia Tech University researcher Yanna Labrinidou helped uncover the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan. She says it's a common misconception that pipes treated with corrosion control can prevent lead contamination.

Melanie Houston with the Ohio Environmental Council says the report does not acknowledge the state's recent efforts to address the problem. A law enacted last year includes 12 million dollars to help schools replace lead components in their infrastructure.

The report recommends states and communities address lead contamination by removing lead service lines, plumbing and fixtures in schools, installing filters on water sources, and adopting a lead standard for schools in accordance with recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy says more than 24 million American children will lose I-Q points due to lead exposure, even at low levels.