Former Sebring water superintendent to plead today

Staff report


James V. Bates, the former Sebring water superintendent charged with failing to notify Sebring water customers about high lead results in routine water testing in 2015, will enter a plea at 3 p.m. today.

Bates, 62, of Carey Road in Salem, was scheduled for trial Monday in Mahoning County Sebring Area Court on three charges, each of which could have produced a four-year prison sentence if he were convicted.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office was prosecuting the case on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which said Bates failed to notify individual households and the entire Sebring water district regarding test results showing high lead levels as required under Ohio law.

When customers were notified, it led to closing of schools, bottled water being trucked in and children being tested for lead in their blood.

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