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Lead Pipe Maps From Ohio's Water Systems Are Due to the EPA Thursday

Lead-line map
Akron already has an interactive map showing lead water lines in the city.

The Ohio EPA is expecting maps of the lead pipes in the state’s water systems by tomorrow as part of an overhaul of how Ohio handles lead in drinking water, but only about half of the systems have complied so far.

Ohio has 1,878 water systems, ranging in size from large cities all the way down to single neighborhoods. A law passed last year requires them to map out their systems and identify lead pipes. Ohio EPA spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer says the maps are important for helping to figure out where systems need to concentrate on testing lead levels in the future.

“We have heard mostly from smaller systems who have not maintained their records over time to know where lead service lines are. And that’s really the problem: It’s very important that the water systems have a record of what their infrastructure is.”

Griesmer adds that, even though lead pipes had fallen out of use by the 1970s, lead solder was still being used until the late 1990s. Most of the missing maps are from smaller systems that haven’t maintained records.

“There are some very sophisticated maps that we’re getting that are using GIS capabilities and have it down to the road or the house to know whether there are lead service lines. And then there are some that took a picture of Google maps and hand wrote things.”

Griesmer says that systems which haven't turned in their maps by tomorrow will have 30 days before penalties might follow. Links to all of the maps that have been turned in, as well as which systems are still outstanding, are available here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.