NBC4 Investigates: Elevated lead found in Crestline water

NBC4 Investigates “Getting the Lead Out”

CRESTLINE, OH (WCMH) — After NBC4 aired its original investigations where we discovered lead in a drinking fountain at the Statehouse and in local schools, viewers contacted Lead Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman, asking him to check the water at their homes.

Pohlman traveled across Central Ohio, collecting samples from Columbus, to Pataskala, to Marion. All the tests came up negative, except at Crestline, Ohio; a small village 14 miles west of Mansfield.


Crestline is a picturesque village, but some neighbors say the picture isn’t quite right.

Renee Hendrickson, who lives in an upstairs apartment on East Thrush Avenue, contacted NBC4 with concerns about the water in the village, which she says is often filled with particles and sediment.

Her neighbor, Jack Tackett agrees, showing a jar of dirty looking water that was collected from the tap just a couple of days before.

“Had floaties in it,  and it was brown,” Tackett said about that jar, telling us the dirty water appears often in the village; usually after the village flushes the fire hydrants, something the village administration concedes happens.

NBC4 Responds

NBC4’s Lead Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman responded, filling a sample jar at Hendrickson’s kitchen faucet and taking the sample Tackett had gathered.

The two samples were dropped off for testing at Advanced Analytics Laboratory in Columbus.

Results No Surprise

The results from the lab showed the sample Pohlman drew from Hendrickson’s faucet was clear of lead, but the sample Tackett collected, that one with the brown water with suspended solids, had elevated levels of lead.

Crestline Water Test

According to the lab, that sample had 13 parts per billion, just under the 15 parts per billion that EPA considers dangerous to drink.

“I’m not surprised really,” Tackett said when we shared the results with him, adding he still has to drink that water. We have to drink it.”

We brought the results of the testing to Crestline Village Administrator Mark Milliron, who was quick to point out that the water department has not had any problems with test of its water in the past.

“We follow the guidelines established by the EPA,” he said, as he sat at his desk digesting the data.

“We sample 20 residents every three years,” Milliron explained, adding, “Our levels are always so low.”

But Milliron admits there are complaints when the village flushes the hydrants in spring and summer.

Cause for Alarm

“Well, I mean, yeah. You do when you flush hydrants, you stir things up,” He said, emphasizing the village has never spotted high lead levels.

But we did, at 13 parts per billion.

“It’s under the threshold for reaction,” Milliron reacted, adding, “It does cause alarm.”

Now that we found the lead in the village water, Milliron was clear about what needed to be done now. “We’ve got to check the system out and see what we got, because we’re surprised too.”

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