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Lead sample collected in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT — The Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program will begin collecting lead samples at more than 120 residences today in Bridgeport.

Misty Tolzda, senior rural development specialist for RCAP, said the organization has been working with the villages of Bridgeport and Shadyside to address issues with each of the villages’ water systems. Both communities will be receiving lead sampling of their service lines. The information collected will then be translated into maps, she said. Collections of Shadyside connections will begin late next week with similar numbers being tested to those in Bridgeport.

During these sample collections, Tolzda said residents can expect to see a Geographical Information System team traveling throughout the village and knocking on doors.

The team will be sampling around 125-150 connections in each village.

“We’ll be targeting areas where we know lead is present,” she said.

The staff will adorn orange safety vests and carry identification badges to make themselves known to residents. She said the police departments will also be notified of their presence. Residences where GIS staff are unable to reach the home’s occupant, a door hanger alerting the homeowner to contact the company to set up a time for their line connection to be sampled.

RCAP secured approximately $4,000 in funding to assist the targeted communities with the collection samples. Tolzda said under the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lead and Copper Rules, all public water systems will be required to inventory their remaining lead service lines by 2024. In smaller systems, where such records were not maintained, RCAP’s GIS team must use a combination of county auditor property information, water distribution system construction history and operator knowledge of the system to narrow the areas that are at risk of having these.

“In some cases, lead service line locations are known, but oftentimes there are properties where they are suspected but an on-site inspection is required to confirm their presence,” she said.

Tolzda said their goal is to help communities confirm the presence of lead and galvanized service lines that need to be replaced because of the health risk they pose.

“We are hopeful that with this information, we can help communities come up with solutions and be ready to take advantage of any grant opportunities in the future,” she said.

Tolzda said if a community chooses to pursue funding for this or other projects related to the management of water and sewer utilities, she will prepare the applications for them.

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