Councilman orders report on Cincinnati's lead lined pipes

Councilman asking for report on Cincinnati's lead lined pipes

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A City of Cincinnati Council member says he wants to make sure what happened in Flint will not happen here in the Queen City.

Chris Smitherman has ordered a report on the nearly 16,000 lead lined pipes on private property in the City of Cincinnati. The councilman said the goal will be to look at the pipes over the last five years to make sure lead isn't making its way into the water supply.

"Let's just say at someone's home, the lead, there's no leakage," said Smitherman. "But there's a risk for it. I still believe that those property owners should be advised about it so they're monitoring that and they can decide if they want to deal with that or not."

Officials from Cincinnati Water Works said the City's system is different from Flint's, mainly because the water is treated in a way that lowers corrosion with pipes.

"We meet or exceed all federal and state regulations for water quality.  We're really proud of the treatment process that we have here," said Jeff Swertfeger with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works.
But it could all change just that fast.

Let's be clear, the city of Cincinnati doesn't have a lead-laced water problem.  But, that's not to say it couldn't happen.

"I want to have that public conversation, get the information out and then say, 'Hey, how can we help to solve it,'" Smitherman told FOX19 NOW.

Smitherman suggests possibly paying for the assessment of the properties through individual water bills.

"I think this may be a great way for the city to intervene and say, 'Through your water bill this is a special assessment that you pay for over some period of time, but the risk of your children being impacted by lead poisoning has gone to zero,'" Smitherman said.

The motion will head to the city's Law and Public Safety Committee for review on Monday.

The proposal would also call for Water Works to help educate homeowners on pipes and how to test their water for lead.

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