EPA Adopts Boccieri's Proposal For Lead Contamination Coordination
Lawmaker says public health crisis response plan should be state law
February 16, 2017
 
[ John A. Boccieri Home | John A. Boccieri Press ]
 
 

In updated rules that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) released last September, the agency quietly included a proposal from state Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) for greater inter-agency coordination in the event of drinking water contamination. The Poland lawmaker originally offered the coordination concept as an amendment to House Bill 512 in the 131st General Assembly. 


“I have always believed that local boards of health and EMA’s can respond more quickly to a local public health crisis rather than a state worker in a cubicle in Columbus,” said Boccieri. “Timely coordination among the agencies who already have boots on the ground and know the community is critical to effectively responding to incidences of lead-contaminated water.” 


House Bill 512, legislation passed last May to update standards for water testing and public notification, required timely notification requirements but did not mandate coordination between local and state-level entities when cases of lead contamination present a public health crisis.  


During deliberations on HB 512, Rep. Boccieri unsuccessfully offered an amendment requiring local health departments and county emergency management agencies (EMAs) to jointly establish a written plan of action for public notification of water contamination, after EPA plan approval. 


The OEPA decided to incorporate the coordination concept in its contingency plan rules for water systems while updating the agency’s official guidance documents, as is required every five years. The final contingency rule language requires water systems to notify local health departments, EMAs and OEPA of any water contamination emergency. 


“I believe the legislature should pass a state law to affirm inter-agency coordination so that every available resource, at every level of government, can be mobilized during a public health crisis,” said Boccieri. “Ultimately, state law requires the OEPA to manage lead reduction efforts, so the state needs to fulfill its obligation to dedicate adequate resources to keep our communities safe from contaminated drinking water.” 


Both the Emergency Management Association of Ohio and the Ohio Health Boards Association supported Rep. Boccieri’s amendment when he offered it last year

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Boccieri: BRAC Report Good First Step To Protect Ohio Military Installations

 

State Rep John Boccieri (D-Poland) today said that the State of Ohio’s Base Realignment and Closure’s (BRAC) Task Force recommendations are a good first step toward strengthening military assets in Ohio. The Task Force’s primary mission was to identify all federal assets, including military bases, and speak toward their value in terms of military mission as well as the economic benefit they provide to communities.



 
 

Lawmakers Concerned School Rating Overhaul Leaves Youngstown Schools Behind

 

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today expressed concern about House Bill (HB) 591, a Republican-led effort to once again overhaul the state’s school report card system. The bill would leave current triggers in place for schools that are under or near academic distress—a move the lawmakers say unfairly targets districts in academic distress like Youngstown, Lorain and at least 22 other districts across the state.

 



 
 

Ohio House Passes Measure Urging Selection Of Camp Ravenna As Missile Defense System

 

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland), Mike O’Brien (D-Warren), Glenn W. Holmes (D-Girard) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today applauded the Ohio House for unanimously passing Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 8, which calls on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (USMDA) to select Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center as the preferred site for a future east coast Missile Defense system. MDA, a sub-agency of the Department of Defense (DOD), announced its consideration of Camp Ravenna among two other locations for a potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors for homeland defense.