ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) — Some Aliquippa residents continue to express concerns about alleged lead levels in their drinking water.
Back in September, KDKA investigator Meghan Schiller first introduced you to McMinn Street homeowner Gerald Schill. He feared for his health and wanted his lead service line replaced.READ MORE: Mon Wharf Reopening For Parking On Monday
The Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa acted fast and got to work the next day. Schill thought he put the worst behind him but received a letter in the mail.
“Your level is 51.4 ppb,” said Schill.
He read KDKA’s Meghan Schiller the latest letter sent to his home from the MWAA and said he feels dumbfounded.
“I was amazed, just shocked,” Schill said.
The MWAA collected a water sample in the late summer that measured his water’s lead at 48.4 ppb. For context, 15 ppb is the EPA’s recommended action level.
Schill happily snapped pictures as the MWAA took action and replaced his lead service line that same week. Fast forward five months later and Schill expected his latest round of testing would produce good numbers.
“How can I end up getting a higher level when they are taking the lead line out? And they say there’s no lead in the water?” Schill said.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller called the MWAA and asked Schill’s question. Robert Bible, the MWAA’s general manager, said he suspects some lead still remains inside Schill’s home. He said it could be the fitting or valves.
Schill said he replaced all of the pipes with plastic and doesn’t believe there’s any lead remaining in his home.
Bible claims Schill’s lead levels did actually decrease during this latest round of testing, but Schill said the numbers are far from reassuring. Bible told KDKA’s Meghan Schiller that the MWAA made a mistake with Schill’s collection this past summer.READ MORE: University of Pittsburgh Main Campus Shifts Into Lower-Risk Classification For The Coronavirus
Instead of the lead reading of 48.4 ppb, Schill’s level actually read 484 ppb. Technically Schill saw a decrease, from 32 times the EPA action level to roughly three times the action level.
The MWAA told KDKA it is going to send a service member out to Schill’s house for further inspection.
WATCH: Meghan Schiller Reports
KDKA investigator Meghan Schiller has also learned there’s a new way for concerned homeowners, including Schill, to receive independent water testing.
“It’s exciting and relieving to finally have somebody helping and acknowledging on a professional level,” said Megan Smith.
She runs Aliquippa Water Issues, a Facebook page with nearly 900 members. She’s a fierce critic of Aliquippa’s water.
“We have to figure out if it’s a widespread problem, fingers crossed it’s not,” Smith said.
Fifty Aliquippa residents already snagged the at-home test kits that are available for pickup at Smith’s home.
“We have a long list of more people that want boxes so we’re just waiting on more,” said Smith.
The concerned group caught the attention of Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards. He’s on the receiving end of the water samples.
“Hopefully, we’ll verify what the water utility has been saying,” said Edwards. “They’ve been open about the fact that they occasionally have high iron and manganese issues, and we’ll see just how widespread those problems are. We’ll also try to get a little better handle on the lead. And also there are finger-printing forensic techniques that we can use to help decipher where the lead is coming from.”MORE NEWS: Baldwin High School Students Raise Thousands Of Dollars Through Polar Pop Event For Special Olympics Of Pennsylvania
Aliquippa residents interested in being added to the list for a test kit should email Aliquippawaterissues@gmail.com.