EPA awards $73M to Dayton for water infrastructure improvements

Aerial view looking northwest of the City of Dayton Water Treatment and Distribution plant. STAFF FILE
Aerial view looking northwest of the City of Dayton Water Treatment and Distribution plant. STAFF FILE

City project is first to be funded in Ohio

The U.S. EPA has awarded $73 million to the city of Dayton for water infrastructure improvements, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced Thursday.

“All Ohio communities should be able to count on clean, drinkable water year-round,” Brown stated in a release. “By investing in water infrastructure programs, we’re investing in the future of the Miami Valley and protecting the health of our children.”

The funds come through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, and is the first project funded in Ohio.

ExploreWhat Dayton learned after the unprecedented water outage

A nearly catastrophic February 2019 water main break in Dayton’s water system caused widespread chaos for hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses after it spilled more than 150 million gallons of treated water into the Great Miami River. The break forced businesses and schools to close across Montgomery County and a boil advisory was put into effect by the city and county for more than 40 hours to protect people against unsafe drinking water.

The main line that broke was a 28-year-old, 36-inch concrete pipe in the river near the Keowee Street Bridge, though the city would not specify its exact location, citing security concerns.

After the major 2019 water main break and contaminants found in area groundwater, the Dayton Daily News Path Forward project spent much of 2020 digging into solutions to concerns about the safety and sustainability of drinking water.

In July, we revealed that Dayton loses billions of gallons of treated water every year to costly water leaks and examined how aging infrastructure causes water loss and what Ohio and Dayton are doing about it.

ExploreDayton loses billions of gallons of water every year. What is it doing to stop the costly leaks?

In November, the newspaper talked to health officials about a PFAS contamination at Aullwood Farm, and why private well owners nearby are being urged to test their water for the contaminants.

ExplorePublic Health: Residents near Aullwood should test their wells

Throughout the year, our reporting has kept tabs on steps the city of Dayton is taking to monitor and respond to these issues.

ExploreDayton wants in-house water testing for ‘forever chemicals’

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by the EPA. Its goal is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects, the release stated.

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