Warren keeps track of lead

031717...R WAR LEAD PIPES 2...Warren...03-17-17... Franco Lucarelli. Director, Warren Utility Services, holds a colored coded map of Warren, green and yellow, that have the probability of lead water pipes...by R. Michael Semple

WARREN — Water customers from across the state now are able to use the internet to look up where lead lines most likely will be located in their communities thanks to a new Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulation that requires public water systems to map out their service areas.

The new maps are on the Ohio EPA website.

“The maps are required to have at least two colors indicating areas where lead lines have the highest probability of being located and the areas where they are least likely,” Warren Utilities Director Franco Lucarelli said.

Warren’s green and yellow map shows that homes and businesses in Warren with the highest probability of having lead lines are those in the city’s central core.

“The city expanded out from its downtown area, so its oldest properties, which would have the highest chance of having lead lines going into them, are in its center,” Lucarelli said. “Homes built prior to 1954 have higher probability of having lead service lines between the home’s water meter and the main water line in the street.”

Lucarelli said none of the city-controlled water lines are made with lead.

The city has more than 19,500 water customers. Between 400 and 800 of the properties could have lead lines based on their age and location.

“Just because a house is in an area with a higher probability of having lead lines does not mean the lines are lead,” Lucarelli said. “Warren residents that have concerns can call the water department and we will look at our written records and we can schedule someone to come to your homes to check the visible water lines to determine if we see lead lines.”

“The previous home owner of the property may have dug up the older water lines and replaced them,” Lucarelli said. “We don’t know what was done.”

Residents concerned about lead in their water should run their water for about two minutes early in the morning, before most members of the household get up and that will clear the home’s system, Lucarelli said.

Only 10 out of 1,900 public water systems in Ohio failed to turn in their maps before the EPA’s March 9 deadline, said Heidi Griesmer, a spokeswoman with the Ohio EPA. Those public water systems that failed to make the deadline have been given another 30 days to turn in their maps.

Griesmer said the new mapping regulation became law last summer.

“The Ohio EPA will use the maps when the Public Water Services are required to do and turn in their lead samples,” she said. “We will use these maps to make sure testings are being done in areas in which there are older homes and where there could could be problems.”

Griesmer said the new regulation requires public water systems to react to problem at a faster rate than they are under federal regulations.

“If a water system receives samples that are above the allowed levels it will have two business days to contact the property owners and alert the community,” she said.

Ron Watson, senior environmental engineer for the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer’s Office, was in charge of making sure the seven water systems under the county turned in their mapping information.

“The information on our maps was based on records in these communities,” Watson said. “To our knowledge, there are no lead water lines under control of the county.”

Watson said Trumbull County’s public water systems includes Howland, Southington, Mosquito Creek, Mineral Ridge, Bazetta/Champion, Warren Township and Braceville.

The vast majority of the county’s public water systems are on three-year schedules for lead testing.

Cortland Mayor Jim Woofter noted in an email that a survey of residents in his city involved in meter replacement, service line maintenance and waterline replacement has failed to discover any lead service lines.

Lucarelli said residents can take a coin and scratch their older pipe to determine if the pipes are lead.

“If during the scratching, the metal pipe becomes shiny it likely is a lead pipe,” he said. “A galvanized pipe will not have that shine.”