Clarksburg Water Board holds emergency meeting after EPA issues administrative order

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an administrative order to the Clarksburg Water Board to identify homes and businesses with lead service lines and provide an alternative source of drinking water or filters certified to remove lead to all customers.

Now, the water board is in the process of testing more than 7,000 direct customers for potential lead contamination.

“We still believe that we don’t have a problem with our raw water or our finished water. No detectable of lead have been found yet in our main lines. So what we’re trying to do is identify service lines that may have lead that leach into peoples’ homes,” said President of the Clarksburg Water Board Paul Howe.

This comes after the DHHR called for a study to be done after three children were diagnosed with elevated levels of lead in their blood and assessments showed lead levels in city water that were near or above the levels under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Both the DHHR and the EPA claim that the Clarksburg Water Board failed to notify the public about the risk of lead exposure or comply with an administrative order that was issued July 2, and now the board faces a daily 5,000 dollar fine until everything is in compliance with state code.

During an emergency meeting on Thursday, the president of the board says they have been acting ever since and the real issue lies elsewhere.

Howe said, “we’ve been communicating daily with the West Virginia Division of Public Health telling them what we’re doing. We send them daily lab results and our water parameters and an update on our reporting. We’ve done this every day for the last two weeks, so for the agency to hand out a fine saying that we’re not communicating with them is very disheartening.”

During the meeting, the water board unanimously authorized Steptoe and Johnson law firm to file a notice of content to comply with the EPA and reserve their right to appeal the order in circuit court.

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