CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health, issued a notice of violation on Wednesday for failure of compliance to the Clarksburg Water Board after issuing an administrative order on July 2, 2021.
According to a press release from the DHHR, The Bureau for Public Health has the duty and authority to regulate public water systems. According to West Virginia Code, non-compliance comes with a fine of $5,000 per day for each day that the water board is not in full compliance.
“Since this situation developed, the Bureau for Public Health has had constant communication with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and both agencies have agreed on the appropriate course of action,” said Dr. Amjad. “Together with EPA, we will ensure the Clarksburg Water Board complies with the administrative order and support the water system’s efforts to identify and test older homes with lead service lines that may cause elevated lead levels in drinking water. We remain very concerned about the public health situation in Clarksburg and stand ready to protect the health and well-being of the customers of the water system, as well as ensure compliance.”
The staff in the Bureau for Public Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program first identified the issue of lead service lines during environmental lead assessments conducted at the homes of children diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. Samples from the Clarksburg Water Board were above the EPA’s “action level,” meaning the water is below safe drinking standards (15ppb for lead).
The Clarksburg Water Board has been ordered to come up with a plan to correct the problem. This plan should include additional sampling, increased frequency of monitoring, installation of a corrosion control system and an alternate source of drinking water and/or point of use filters for homeowners where elevated lead levels are known from existing sample results and where known or suspected lead service lines exist.
Parents of children under six who live in older Clarksburg homes are advised to discuss the risks of lead exposure with their child’s pediatrician. A child’s doctor may determine that precautionary blood testing is needed.
Consumers can also flush water lines used for drinking and cooking and use bottled water for making baby formula.
Remember: Boiling water does not remove lead.
Questions regarding the Clarksburg Water Board and the risk for lead exposure in the water should be directed to Bob Davis, Chief Water Operator, at 304-624-5467, extension 121.