The Latest: APNewsBreak: Water manager violated state rules

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2016 5:27 PM

SEBRING, Ohio (AP) — The latest on lead-tainted water in northeastern Ohio (all times local):

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5:30 p.m.

State records show that a water plant manager under scrutiny over high lead levels in northeastern Ohio violated numerous state rules regarding plant operations in past years.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that in 2009 environmental regulators told Sebring water system manager James Bates that he had been operating in a manner that endangered public health.

The records unrelated to the recent lead testing say he also attempted to ignore poor water readings and submitted misleading, inaccurate or false reports.

Ohio's environmental agency now is calling for a criminal investigation of Bates after saying he falsified reports about high levels of lead and copper being detected last summer in some homes in Sebring near Youngstown.

Bates on Tuesday called the allegations "an outright lie."

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11:25 a.m.

Ohio regulators say two of 123 water samples taken at schools in a northeastern Ohio community are above the federal limits for lead and copper.

The state's environmental agency said Tuesday that the latest tests from Sunday at three schools in Sebring near Youngstown found excessive lead levels in two drinking water fountains.

State officials say 22 samples showed evidence of lead below the federal limits while the rest had none.

Schools in the community are closed for a third day after officials said some homes showed high levels of contaminants this past summer.

Ohio's environmental director has called for a criminal investigation, saying the local water plant operator failed to warn the public about the high lead tests and falsified reports.

The manager is denying the allegations.

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9:45 a.m.

A water treatment plant manager in Ohio is denying allegations that he falsified reports about high levels of lead and copper being detected in some homes last summer.

Ohio's environmental agency is calling for a criminal investigation, saying the operator failed to warn the public about the high lead tests.

The agency says it believes the water plant superintendent in Sebring near Youngstown falsified reports.

Plant manager James Bates told The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown that the allegations are a "downright lie." He declined to comment when reached at home by The Associated Press.

Officials in Sebring say seven of 20 homes where the water is routinely tested showed high levels of the contaminants.

Authorities there are handing out bottled water, and schools are closed again Tuesday.