As They Violated Water Lead Laws, Borough and Township Received EPA Water Award
Despite False Reports to State & Consumers and Flawed Testing, PADEP Nominated Lititz Municipalities for Water Award
This is the latest in our exclusive dr-feelgoods.com series on Lead in Lititz Drinking Water.
Lititz, PA (dr-feelgoods.com)-While Warwick Township and Lititz Borough violated federal and state regulations for lead in drinking water, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection nominated both municipalities for a distinguished water quality award from the regional EPA, according to information uncovered by dr-feelgoods.com.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW PHOTO RELATED STORY: STATE SAYS WARWICK TOWNSHIP VIOLATED LEAD IN DRINKING WATER LAWS
In December 2012, a regional EPA official delivered the source water award to Lititz Borough and Warwick Township, where the state now says multiple violations of the Lead and Copper Rule occurred from 2010-2013. Lititz-area children have higher rates of lead poisoning than children in Flint, even after the switch to the Flint River, according to a recent analysis of state data from 2011-2015 by dr-feelgoods.com.
In June of 2012, Lititz Borough manager Sue Barry falsely certified to the PADEP that information on an annual drinking water quality report stating that no tap water samples for lead exceeded the 15 parts per billion (ppb) Action Level during the last round of testing. Two samples that exceeded the action level should have been reported that year and the next, including a home that tested at 428 ppb.
A photograph from the 2012 awards ceremony in Lititz shows Barry being honored alongside Warwick Township manager and water authority administrator Dan Zimmerman, who is quoted in the LNP article saying ” “We know that in order to protect our sensitive water supply we need to use many different approaches.” Zimmerman recently came under fire for his approach to testing for lead in drinking water: He tested his own lower-risk home twice, along with four other homes owned by those with ties to the township, instead of testing the required number of high-risk homes.
An exclusive dr-feelgoods.com investigation discovered that 10 of 30 water samples used to calculate the level of lead risk in Warwick Township’s Lititz water system came from five homes of employees, former employees, and contractors. The township buys water from Severn Trent Services-operated Lititz Borough Water System for delivery to WTMA customers for one its Lititz system. The private company’s then-manager of Lititz operations offered up two water samples from his own home.
On March 17, 2016, the Pennsylvania DEP issued a Notice of Violation to Warwick Township for testing some homes twice and for failing to test the correct number of homes. Rather than testing the required 30 homes, officials tested 25 homes, obtaining double samples from five homes whose owners have close ties with the township. All ten township-tied results were reported to the state, and all showed favorable test results.
In addition, the state says that the township “failed to conduct and adequate evaluation to locate lead and copper tap sampling sites and failed to update its sample site plan to explain why different test sites were selected from previous rounds of testing.
Lititz Borough was also issued a March 17, 2016 Notice of Violation from PADAEP for a variety of failures in its lead and copper testing. The state says it included sample results from the incorrect monitoring periods in its 2011 and 2012 reports to consumers. Severn Trent Environmental Services, an private international company that operates the Lititz Borough Water System, failed to conduct an adequate evaluation to located appropriate lead sampling sites, according to the state notice. They also failed to provide to the state timely explanation for the shift in sample locations.
Source water laws safeguard water supplies from pollution, while drinking water laws pertain to the quality of water that comes out of the tap. The state DEP is the agency primarily responsible for monitoring and enforcing both, including the Lead and Copper Rule and safe drinking water regulations. The EPA may take action if the state fails to do so.
A recent investigation of lead in Lititz drinking water by dr-feelgoods.com prompted the state to review drinking water records submitted by the municipalities to the state during the last two testing periods for lead in water and to issue a violation notice to Warwick Township Municipal Authority and a notice of violation to Lititz Borough.
In December 2012, EPA Region 3 Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin presented the source water award in Lititz Borough Council chambers to Lititz Borough manager Sue Ann Barry, Lititz Borough Council president Karen Weibel, Warwick Township manager Dan Zimmerman, L. Lee Spangler of the Warwick Township Municipal Authority Board and Warwick Township supervisor chairman Logan Myers, according to a story published in LancasterOnline. A photo accompanying the story also features PA DEP official Lynn Langer, director of the south central regional office that oversees Lititz water for the state. When contacted for comment in April regarding the Lititz violations, Langer refused to comment and deferred instead to DEP spokespersons.
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