On June 9, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill (HB) 512, a multifaceted law that the Governor has said "puts Ohio in the front" and makes Ohio "the leader in the country" in dealing with the problem of lead contamination in drinking water. After the crisis in Flint, Michigan sparked a national inquiry and events in Sebring, Ohio raised questions locally, the Ohio General Assembly responded with HB 512, which includes tighter deadlines for Ohio public water systems to respond and notify residents of lead in drinking water. HB 512 was introduced on April 7, 2016, quickly passed by the Ohio Legislature in May, and signed into law by the Governor. The new law becomes effective on September 8, 2016.
The new law establishes sampling, corrosion control, and individual tap action levels, more stringent public notification deadlines, higher administrative enforcement penalties, requirements for identifying and mapping lead infrastructure in public water systems, and financial assistance for communities and schools with lead in drinking water concerns. The enacted version largely mirrors the version that was introduced, which we previously covered in our frESH blog. The key provisions of the changes to Ohio law regarding lead in drinking water are summarized in this alert.