Ohio lawmakers considering legislation to help avoid water crisis

WSYX ABC 6 by Ben Garbarek

COLUMBUS — Ohio lawmakers want to make sure another water crisis like the one in Sebring doesn't happen again. Local and state elected officials are taking different approaches to the same goal of keeping the water safe.

Columbus City Council voted Monday night to approve $3 million in infrastructure spending at the water treatment facility on Dublin Road.

"Any infrastructure is done with the goal that we continue to have some of the cleanest water possible," said Councilman Michael Stinziano.

Council members don't want the water system in Columbus to deteriorate to the point where something like what's happening in Flint can happen here.

State lawmakers have proposed legislation to require quicker notification for people who have lead in their water. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is looking into how some people living in Sebring weren't notified of the lead in the water for months.

"If my wife and five kids were drinking contaminated water for five months, I would be furious," said Rep. John Boccieri, D - Poland. "I'm very certain if this was a water line going into the governor's mansion or water lines going into the Ohio Statehouse or on affluent suburbs of Columbus that this would have been handled a lot more and executed a lot more quickly."

His bill would require local health departments to test the water and alert people if there's lead in it, instead of waiting on the state.

Rep. Boccieri said his bill is just an immediate response to the water crisis in Sebring. He said Congress ultimately needs to step in and provide more infrastructure spending for water treatment facilities.