The Ohio state health department and and EPA have lifted the “do not drink” order in Scio, but director of environmental health and acting administrator of the Harrison County health department, Chuck Fisher, does not agree. Fisher conducted his own, independent testing because he is concerned mostly about the infants of Scio and how the manganese could effect their development. The village was told by the EPA based on their test the water is drinkable. The disconnect is what is frustrating them.
“People are upset. Their biggest reason and the frustration is because nobody is talking to them,” said Scio property owner Joe Citro. “A lot of the administration and the people in that room were going on Facebook and blasting people, and there were some threats made, and I don’t think that’s any way to run a government. I think if that stops and they get a little more professional, and just let the people know (what is going on). The people are smart.”
When confronted about the disconnect and what people feel to be a lack of professionalism and compassion, the mayor Michelle Carpenter called for the people to come together.
“Everyone is here because they are dedicated to this town. Yes, we’re compassionate. Have we been in worker bee mode this past week? Yes. We are compassionate. We don’t want anyone to have bad water. You guys, we live here. We have the same water. I bathe and brush my teeth in the same water as you guys. None of us are immune to it. All of us are in the same boat,” she said.
The hero of the night, answering most of the people’s question was Fisher though. He says his concern for the people of Harrison County drives him. Despite the backlash he is facing from the EPA and state department of health for disagreeing with them.
“That’s important to me because of the person I am. That’s who I am. My whole life I’ve worked towards making and learning and trying to understand,” said Fisher. “To be a person that oversees what goes on and happens to people, because I hate the idea of putting a price on somebody’s head, and the last thing I want to do it put a price on a babies head. That’s not me. And when I started this job 32 years ago, I decided at that time that I’m here for the people and that’s what I’m doing here today.”
Prior to this council meeting, there was a press conference at the Days Inn in Cadiz where two lawyers, one of whom was on the Flint, MI, water crisis suit, plan on filing a class action law suit met with Scio citizens. You can see that entire press conference via Periscope on Twitter.