Mayor Calls Cleveland Station out for "False" Report

The Mayor of Berea, Ohio says that WOIO is giving viewers false information of their water. 

Berea Mayor Cyril Kleem assured residents their water is safe to drink after a report by WOIO news story in which Kleem seemed to indicate he would not drink the city's water due to contamination. Kleem said the news station deleted his full response and explanation for the discolored water that reporter Paul Orlousky showed him.

Orlousky asked rhetorically in the news segment if "In the wake of Flint (Michigan, where a serious lead issue exists), could there be heavy metals ... in Berea water?"

Kleem said he wasn't aware Orlousky was having Berea water tested for lead when interviewed during a surprise Veterans' Day visit from the reporter. Kleem later told the news team he found their water testing protocol to be suspect.

"They get a kernel of truth and they turn it into something else," he said about the news station. "It's not fair to interview someone about brown water and edit it to make it look like I was talking about lead in the water. We had our water plant water tested right from the source, and there was such a miniscule amount (of lead) that it barely even registered."

The situation began after a Fair Street resident sent Kleem an e-mail in October and also contacted Cleveland 19 News about her brown-stained water filter. Kleem said no one else on the woman's street, which is a construction zone, had wagered any complaints.

Orlousky said the Fair Street water samples tested significantly above the Environmental Protection Agency limit for lead.

"I don't know how they tested it," Kleem told council. "I have since found out the tenant at the house took some samples from the bathtub and, I think, from a sink, and those have to be controlled samples in order for the test to be done accurately. To my knowledge and to my memory, we've never had a house test over the EPA limit for lead."

He added that samples of Berea water tested in the city of Cleveland's labs "showed the amount of lead present in the water was a fraction of what the Channel 19 test showed." Kleem said he drinks unfiltered city water every day.

"We have good water, and we don't have a lead issue," Kleem stressed. "This is not a Flint situation. Not even close. The (news) report was false. It's just that simple."