Charges filed against former Sebring water operator

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 13, 2016

A criminal complaint was filed against the former operator of the village of Sebring's public water system for failing to notify citizens in a timely manner about the results of water samples tested in 2015, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig W. Butler announced on Wednesday. 

James V. Bates, of Salem, was charged on two counts of recklessly failing to provide timely notice of individual lead tap water results to affected consumers within 30 days of receiving lab results, and one count of recklessly failing to provide timely system-wide public education within 60 days of the end of the lead and copper monitoring period.

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Officials said the charges were filed on Wednesday in municipal court in Sebring. View the complaint filed in court here.

Bates was the operator of record for the village of Sebring’s public water system in 2015, officials reported, when the system conducted its lead and copper sampling tests, required every three years. All residents whose tap water was tested for lead were required to receive timely notification of the test results, whether or not the results showed elevated levels of lead. Some of the tests revealed elevated lead levels, which triggered required notices to the public. The state alleged that Bates failed to provide both types of notices within the required time frames, in violation of Ohio’s safe drinking water laws.