Officials: No lead in Rayland water

RAYLAND — Village Administrator Richard Bibbo wants to clear the air regarding a recent announcement that the village of Rayland found lead in its water system.

A public notice published in the Oct. 3 edition of The Times Leader states that “in recent test results, the Village of Rayland PWS (Public Water System) has detected lead in levels exceeding the federal/state action level.” Neither Bibbo nor Mayor Tammy Morelli could be reached for comment on the matter last week.

Bibbo clarified the situation Monday, however, saying that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency required the village to publish the notice but that it was misleading. According to Bibbo, lead was discovered in the plumbing of a private residence in Rayland but not throughout the public water system.

“The water in Rayland is safe for consumption,” Bibbo said.

Bibbo said the village tests the water in its system “continuously” and takes samples from private residences in the village every six months. In late September, Bibbo said, samples taken from a house in the village tested positive for trace amounts of lead that exceeded the standard limit. A second round of testing was done on five random homes in the area a week after that discovery; none of those test results showed significant amounts of lead in the water, he said.

According to Bibbo, this indicates the lead problem is contained within the individual plumbing system of the home where testing found that the lead level exceeded the standard. He speculated that the heavy metal made its way into the home via old pipes connected to the house, which is estimated to be about 40 years old, or from fixtures such as faucets inside the building. Bibbo said it is the homeowner’s responsibility to deal with the lead levels inside the home.

Bibbo stressed that there is no way the lead can enter the public water system from that individual home.

Bibbo said the OEPA required the village to run the public notice but understands that the wording of the notice could be misleading and cause residents to believe the village system contained traces of the dangerous heavy metal.

Bibbo emphasized Monday that the village water distribution system is clean and that the water is safe for consumption. He said the village has “95 percent” new water pipes, which reduced the chance of lead getting into the system. He added that strict testing standards mean water department officials can catch possible contaminants in the water before levels become harmful.

“Our system meets all state and federal levels for all contaminants,” Bibbo said.