Former Sebring Water Chief facing criminal charges

July 13, 2016
James Bates was charged with 3 criminal charges today relating to the city's drinking water crisis.

SEBRING, OH, JULY 13, 2016 -- James Bates, the former operator of Sebring (Ohio) Village’s public water system, is now facing criminal charges in connection with the town's recent crisis over lead in drinking water.

According to the Youngston Vindicator, Bates has been charged with two counts of recklessly failing to provide timely notice of individual lead tap water results and one count of recklessly failing to provide timely system-wide public education.

A news release published by Ohio Atty. General Mike DeWine's office said, "The state alleges that Bates failed to provide both types of notices within the required timeframes, in violation of Ohio’s safe drinking water laws."

Bates was first placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a state investigation into concerns about lead in the water supply. Later, he was prohibited from operating any public water system in Ohio by the Ohio EPA