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Following Regional Alarm, Local Officials Make Case That Cleveland Water Is Safe

Water faucet (Photo: Doug/Flickr.com)
Water faucet (Photo: Doug/Flickr.com)

By ideastream's Brian Bull

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s latest round of water quality tests found high levels of lead in the tap water at 11 of 180 homes in the village of Sebring.  

A statement from the Ohio EPA says it’s working with Sebring to “minimize” the amount of lead leaching from pipes. 

That has water officials in Cleveland eager to get the word out that the city’s drinking water is safe and routinely monitored.

Alex Margevicius is the Commissioner of the Cleveland Division of Water.  He says the water department has been adding a chemical element called orthophosphate to the city’s water for 20 years now.

“And as it goes out into the system it coats everything," explains Margevicius.  "It will coat our water mains, it coats the service connections leading up to the house, it coats all the plumbing inside the homes. 

"And it provides a protective barrier that basically seals the metal from the piping, from the water itself.  And prevents the leaching of lead and copper from getting into the drinking water.” 

Margevicius says the city’s water was tested for lead last summer and passed inspection.  He adds that between a $650 million  renovation of their water treatment plants and an ongoing water main replacement program for both city and suburban areas, the water quality remains safe for Greater Cleveland residents.