Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ohio EPA fires two staff members, demotes one following Sebring reporting issues

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) recently fired two staff members and demoted another following an administrative review of a failure to identify violations in the Village of Sebring’s response to elevated lead levels in the community.

Sebring has been dealing with drinking water quality violations that resulted in Ohio EPA requirements for sampling, testing and reporting both to the agency and to the affected customers. On Jan. 21, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler learned the village had not notified certain homeowners of the lead levels in their homes and had not provided required information to the relevant Ohio EPA field office. While agency immediately issued a notice of violation and revoked the license for the Sebring water treatment plant operator, the agency was also in the process of reviewing its own failings in the situation until recently.

The internal review determined that an employee at the Ohio EPA Central Office did not send laboratory results to the field office, which would have allowed the team there to accurately conduct a review of the villages lead levels. That employee and the employee’s supervisor, who did not take action on the employee despite a history of performance issues, have been fired. The agency has also demoted the supervisor at the Northeast District Office for not notifying higher management of suspected action-level exceedance of lead levels.

Organizations in this story

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 50 West Town Street Columbus, OH - 43215

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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