Lowell water quality remains an issue, Ohio EPA says water treatment center in the works

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LOWELL, Ohio (WTAP) -According to the Washington County Health Department, the town of Lowell’s public water system has exceeded contaminant levels for manganese and iron. However, residents and the Mayor say this has been an ongoing issue for years.

As of last week, the Ohio EPA announced the manganese and iron levels were above the recommended amount after taking several samples throughout the month of February. Levels for iron should be below .3 milligrams per liter and manganese should be below .05 milligrams per liter. The last sample taken on February 24th showed an iron level at .576 and a manganese level at 1.04.

John Lazer said he’s lived in Lowell for over 2 years and said he uses bottled water and filter systems he bought himself to make sure his water is safe to drink. He said the water taken from the Muskingham river is oftentimes clearer than the water from his house.

“We still wash our clothing here but we can’t wash any of our whites or any of the light colors. We have to take them out to my fiance’s parents’ house to wash them. I can’t tell you the number of white clothes we’ve ruined,” Lazer said.

“You can’t drink the water, you can’t eat with the water, you can’t even boil it out. You can sit there and boil the water for 10 minutes and it’s still brown on the stove.”

Steven Weber, Mayor of Lowell said his water is often dark in color too. He said the Ohio EPA has told him the high levels are not deadly.

“We’ve got grants in force. We’re working with the EPA and the Corps of Engineers and that type of thing to get a new water plant and new water lines,” Weber said.

“A lot of the new water lines have been put in. They were put in over toward the island where we’re going to put our water tanks there…our water supply system and drill two new wells over there.”

The Ohio EPA said they anticipate beginning construction in July on a new drinking water treatment plant and two new wells to address these issues. The project is slated to be completed by June of next year.

Weber said the reason why the water bill for Lowell residents is higher than other towns throughout the county is that they need a way to pay for the multi-million dollar treatment center.

The Ohio EPA told WTAP, “Manganese has a federal Health Advisory Level. The Lowell water system has exceeded the level for manganese on a monthly basis for some time but has met all other primary state and federal health standards for drinking water.”

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