CLEVELAND —Ohio is sending pallets of bottled water and testing kits to several communities after environmental officials said the operator of a small water system failed to notify the public for months that unsafe levels of lead had been found in some homes.

The state Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order Monday forbidding James Bates from working at the Sebring village water treatment plant and informing him that the agency intends to revoke his operating license for endangering the public and for submitting “misleading, inaccurate or false reports.” Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said he asked the U.S. EPA to open a criminal investigation of what occurred in Sebring.

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