Public Water Systems in Ohio Are Mapping Lead in Pipeline Infrastructure. Check Out Cleveland's Data

[image-1]With the force of a relatively new law, cities around Ohio are setting to work and mapping their water system pipelines. The idea is that a visual record will assist health officials if and when a lead crisis breaks out (which it will).

Lead exposure is associated with cognitive impairments (diminishing IQ, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and more), especially in children, and a number of birth complication or fetal death for pregnant women. The Plain Dealer has reported extensively on those connections and the lead-based infrastructure in question here in Cleveland.

With that journalistic endeavor still unfolding and with the new state law, the Cleveland water department has laid out a helpful and interactive map for residents who are curious about their water lines. Type in your address, and you'll learn whether your residence is connected to a "lead cityside connection." If you land in that category, you can surf around the website for steps to be taken to mitigate the health risks.

And, to paint the picture as clearly as possible, Cleveland Water data points show that 79 percent of Cleveland residents are tapped into a lead pipe. Information for other cities, like our inner-ring suburbs, shows a similar 70- to 80-percent range in many cases.)

(Listen to audio or watch video from an October 2016 City Club discussion on combating the lead crisis in Cleveland.)

The Akron Beacon Journal reported just today that 4,341 city customers get water from pipes with lead, based on newly released information from the city. (The newspaper requested this information "more than a year ago" as the crises in Flint and Sebring were becoming unavoidable. The city denied the requests, insisting that the information "could drive down property values.") Akron residents can search their own map here.

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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