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Leetonia to receive portion of state grants to update lead water lines

LEETONIA — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Leetonia will receive a portion of $2.1 million in grants associated with the H2Ohio initiative to identify, inventory, and map lead service lines in public water systems.

The H2Ohio grant program launched in March with $1.4 million in reserves; however, those funds increased to $2.1 million in response to the high demand for lead line identification and mapping assistance.

Funding for H2Ohio includes $1.4 million for mini-grants of up to $50,000 for individual public water systems and $600,000 for the RCAP and the Ohio Rural Water Association (ORWA) to provide direct identification and mapping assistance to small public water systems.

Leetonia will receive $37,750 in assistance along with lead service line work provided by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP).

“By helping local communities develop precise maps of lead line locations, we’re another step closer to ridding the entire state of these toxic pipes,” DeWine said.

Leetonia Mayor Kevin Siembida said he is overjoyed the village has had such success gaining grant money to help address the needs of the village.

“We have been very fortunate as a community to be awarded all these grants over the last year or so,” Siembida said.

The funds collected from grants and legislation will give the village potential for the future, according to Siembida.

“It’s all these taxpayers’ money they have paying for years upon years to the federal and state government that is actually coming back to them,” Siembida said.

According to a press release provided by the governor’s office, removing lead water lines is an important component in the commitment to the health and well-being of communities.

“It’s really important,” Siembida explained. “We have lead waterlines and we need to get them out of the system for the health and welfare of our community.”

While lead waterlines were originally utilized because of their ability to last for hundreds of years, research exposed health dangers. According to epa.gov, potential exposure from lead waterlines can be attributed to increased blood pressure, incidence of high blood pressure, decreased kidney function, reproductive problems and adverse health effects.

“There’s the potential those lead lines could leech lead into the water system,” Siembida commented.

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