Rep. Boccieri Is Satisfied With Termination Of EPA Employees Over Sebring Negligence; Says Director Still Needs To Answer Questions
Says terminations are a good corrective step but wants Director to confirm vendor evidence that EPA knew of contamination last August
February 17, 2016
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State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today applauded the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to terminate two employees and demote a third over their inadequate response to evidence of lead contamination in the Village of Sebring’s water. An internal review by the EPA revealed that the individuals’ failure to deliver test result information to the appropriate office and authorities respectively inhibited the EPA’s ability to notify residents promptly.

“These terminations are a public acknowledgement that the EPA knew about Sebring’s lead contamination on August 21, 2015,” said Rep. Boccieri. “Under the Ohio Revised Code section 6109.06, the Director of the EPA may notify residents when a water authority operator fails to do so, is negligent or chooses not to. I believe, from my investigation, without having public records requests delivered to me by the EPA, that this got to Director Butler’s desk in a less than timely fashion. I applaud the Director for taking action against subordinates who failed to get him this information and allowed constituents in my district to be harmed. Going forward, I hope the Director will work with me to tighten regulations and fix a process that is clearly broken.”

Evidence Rep. Boccieri’s office gained from the state certified water testing vendor confirmed that the EPA received the first test results revealing contamination in Sebring’s water on August 21, 2015. However, it was not until late January, six months later, that the EPA first took action to ensure that the public was notified. Despite writing several letters to Rep. Boccieri attempting to respond to questions about the situation, Director Butler has yet to admit that his agency did, in fact, receive notice of the contamination back in August.

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