Berea says lead found in drinking water distribution system: What residents need to know

BEREA, Ohio--  The City of Berea says its water treatment plant has found lead in the drinking water distribution system.

According to a press release from the city, in recent test results, the plant detected lead in levels exceeding the federal and state action level from June 2 – 15, 2017 of sampling.

Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.

The city says:  "Our 90th percentile (90 percent of sample results below this value) for lead was 23.7 Micrograms per liter (µg/L). When the 90th percentile for lead sample results is at 15 µg/L or above, the City of Berea Water Treatment Plant is triggered to take action to correct the exceedance."

The City of Berea Water Treatment Plant had two samples out of fifteen collected that exceeded that.

Mayor Cyril Kleem says the situation sounds worse than it is.

“The State of Ohio passed a new regulation that says any time there’s testing done where there is a level of lead in the water over the EPA limit we have to do a notification,” said Mayor Kleem. “In this case we had two homeowners test and they tested incorrectly and if you test incorrectly you’ll get incorrect results.”

The mayor feels confident telling residents that the water is safe to drink, because he says quarterly tests have all come back at safe and normal levels.

“We test at the water plant, at the source and we also test at locations throughout the town, right at the hydrant because that is where the city's pipes stop and the homeowners begin and we don’t have lead issues at those locations,” said Mayor Kleem.

But some residents are still worried.

One man who asked not to be identified says there have been issues with the water for years including an odd white film and bad odor.

“I mean there’s a big concern around here; we want to know what’s going on,” said the resident.

The water treatment plant is making adjustments to its treatment process and is also retesting lead levels.

They say lead typically enters the water primarily as a result of corrosion, or wearing away of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing.

Here are the steps the city says the public can take to reduce lead exposure:

    • Running the water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until it is noticeably colder before using it to flush out the lead;
    • Using only cold water to drink or prepare baby formula;
    • For more information on the health effects of lead, visit
      U.S. EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead.

The City of Berea Water Treatment Plant has contacted 3 local laboratories certified to perform chemical analyses on public drinking water. If you would like your water tested for lead, please feel free to contact any of the following laboratories for instruction:

Biosolutions LLC.
10180 Queens Way #6
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
440-708-2999

CWM Environmental, Inc.
4450 Johnson Parkway, Unit B
Cleveland, OH 44128
216-663-0808

NEORSD Analytical Services
4747 East 49th Street
Cuyahoga Heights, OH 44125
216-641-6000