Notification of lead in water in Salem "lost in mail"

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SALEM, W.Va (WDTV) - Salem officials say test results, pertaining to elevated levels of lead in the city's water in 2014, were "lost in the mail," which meant residents weren't notified until last week.

Two notices, sent to hundreds of residents and obtained by 5 News, were dated May 10, 2017. In one, Ronnie Davis, Salem's city manager, writes that "out of 10 samples in 2014, 2 were over the legal limit" of levels of lead in the water.

Residents were puzzled about receiving a warning three years after the samples were tested.

"I just think as fast as they found out, they should have let the public know," said Bonnie Lasure, who described the lapse in time as "negligence" on the part of the city.

Davis, however, says the city did not receive the results from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources until last year. According to Davis, officials are granted a year to send out a warning to residents.

5 News has reached out to the DHHR, but we have not heard back.

Lead can cause serious health problems if ingested. Davis says that since 2014, water samples have not shown any elevated levels of lead.

The city has since changed its water source, and officials have applied for grants "to remove lead fittings and lines."

Despite city officials' efforts of reassurance, some people say they've had reservations about the water for some time. You can hear from them in the video above.