Montgomery County is working on a plan to set up water distribution centers and is asking the state for help with the Dayton city-county water outage.
"We have recognized we are going to need the state based on the population that's impacted," county Administrator Michael Colbert said in an interview with News Center 7 anchors James Brown and Kate Bartley.
Heidi Griesmer, spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA, said state environmental officials have been providing oversight and technical assistance to the city of Dayton and making sure Ohio drinking water regulations are followed.
Two Ohio EPA staff members have been on the ground in Dayton since early this Thursday, providing updates to state officials. They’ll be in place until Dayton has everything under control.
Right now, the Ohio EPA’s number one concern is possible bacteria in the drinking water, she said.
A secondary concern is possible lead concentrations in water in homes with lead service lines. Service disruption, de-pressurization and re-pressurization – “all that activity can stir up sediments that are within the pipes that may contain lead,” she said.
Griesmer noted that city of Dayton is offering to test residential water for bacteria and/or lead.
Montgomery County Emergency Management has been working on a strategy to get drinking water to the public, Colbert said. The expectation is that the distribution centers will be running in less than 12 hours, he said.
"We’re calling the state for help because we want to make sure we have enough drinking water for the general public," he said.
Help will go first to high-risk areas -- hospitals such as the Stillwater Center (mental health), Premier and the Kettering Health Network as well as nursing homes, the county jail and juvenile justice complex.
"We have to make sure that we have enough bottled water or drinking water for those places first," Colbert said.
The next to get help will be areas that are completely out of water.
Some areas have water, he said, but it has to be boiled to be potable.
"We don’t have any indication that this issue is going to be fixed by tomorrow [Thursday], so we’re kind of planning for a longer-term issue here. We'll be reaching out to the state tomorrow [Thursday] in a more official way to make sure we can plan for a longer-term issue if this comes about."
THE CURRENT SITUATION
As of early Thursday morning, Colbert said, "we feel comfortable based on the those individuals that we touched with and the skids of water that we have scheduled for delivery that we can get through tomorrow [Thursday] afternoon and maybe into tomorrow evening.
"Once we get into [Thursday] evening, we’re going to be challenged. That’s why we reached out to the state."
THE BIGGEST CONCERNS
"We will deplete our supply as necessary and then we have reach out to the state to support us with their supply," Colbert said. Only so much water can be stored, he said, and the county may need the state to help bring in tankers of portable water and deploy them.
He said his biggest concerns are as follows:
- “We have the necessary support we need from the state. Clearly, we’ve got an issue here that has a certain amount of unpredictability to it.
- “We want to make sure we have necessary drinking water. That is a priority, and because we have unpredictability, we don’t know how long this is going to last.
- “We’re going to need a level of support from the state that might be beyond what the state has in reserve in bottled water. Which means we might need some level of tanker support or something else to be deployed in our area to help us out with this.”