Classes have been canceled on Tuesday for all Sebring schools as well the High School, Middle School and preschool in the West Branch Local School District.

The cancellations come as concerns continue over why some users of Sebring Village water are experiencing high lead levels.

Sebring Village Manager. Rick Giroux tells 21 News that state EPA director Craig Butler is expected to be in Sebring on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Ohio EPA Deputy Director of Communications Heidi Griesmer says she has not been informed that Butler plans to visit the community which learned on Thursday that water sampled from several homes had tested for higher than acceptable levels of lead.

The advisory is directed at children and pregnant women, recommending that they refrain from drinking tap water due to possible ill health effects that could result from ingesting excessive levels of lead.

On Sunday, Butler announced that the Ohio EPA is opening a criminal investigation and is taking steps to revoke the license of Sebring Village water treatment operator Jim Bates for allegedly not properly performing his duties in a manner that is protective to public health.

The Ohio EPA said it has reason to suspect that Bates falsified reports in his capacity as water plant operator.

21 News spoke with Bates, who said he is aware of the allegations and denied falsifying anything.

Giroux has placed Bates on administrative leave, and the EPA has issued an order prohibiting Bates from acting as the Sebring Water Plant’s operator. 

In the interim, Kris Harshman, a licensed Class II operator, has been named acting water plant superintendent.

Governor John Kasich's office issued a statement saying he supports the Ohio EPA's work to "force the village to get serious about taking corrective action, including removing their water treatment plant operator." The governor has been directing the resources of state government to help, according to spokesperson Joe Andrews.

Preliminary tests show that five people who use Sebring water have tested positive for elevated levels of lead. They have been advised to see a physician about more extensive tests. Health officials emphasize that further study would be needed to determine if the elevated level of lead in the blood is from the water, or some other source such as deteriorating house paint.

Bottled water is still being distributed at the Sebring Community Center on Texas Avenue.