Clarksburg fined for failing to notify the public about potentially dangerous lead pipes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After issuing an administrative order on July 2, 2021 to the Clarksburg Water Board, Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health, today issued a notice of violation for failure of compliance. The Clarksburg Water Board has failed to notify the public about the risk of lead exposure through the prescribed timeline in the administrative order.

Through W.Va. Code §16-1-9a, the Bureau for Public Health is the agency with the duty and authority to regulate public water systems pursuant to, and the rules promulgated under, W.Va. Code R. §64-3-1 et seq. Due to non-compliance, a fine of $5,000 a day for each day will be imposed util the water board is in full compliance (W.Va. Code §16-2-9a(e)(1) and W.Va. Code R. §64-3.17.2.).

“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 issue of lead service lines was first identified by staff in the Bureau for Public Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program during environmental lead assessments conducted at the homes of children diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. Confirmatory water sampling in several homes serviced by the Clarksburg Water Board were above the EPA’s action level. The Clarksburg Water Board is under orders to implement a corrective action plan that will 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 younger than six years of age who are living in older homes serviced by the Clarksburg Water Board should discuss the risks of lead exposure with their child’s pediatrician to determine if precautionary blood lead testing is needed. Additional steps all consumers can take include flushing water lines used for drinking and cooking and using bottled water for making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead from water and should not be practiced for lead abatement. 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. 

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