Dayton city leaders said this week they’re concerned about two potential threats to well fields along the Mad River from firefighting foam contaminants.
One potential source of contamination is at the city’s firefighting training center on McFadden near the Tait’s Hill well field. The other potential source of contamination is from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where a tainted groundwater plume was believed to be approaching production wells at Huffman Dam, city and state officials say.
The contaminant is known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
The city shut down both well fields over the past two years as a precaution, Dayton officials said. The two well fields stand about three miles apart.
State and city officials say the water is safe and the contaminant has not been found in finished product to consumers.
Here’s a look at key developments this week:
1. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Wright-Patterson officials say they did not know of the firefighting training center concerns until recent days. Among other actions, the state EPA this week directed Dayton to test treated water at its Ottawa treatment plant near the Mad River monthly for the contaminant beginning March 31, and to determine the source of the contamination. Late last year, the city detected PFAS at less than 10 parts per trillion in a raw water intake at the plant, officials said. The U.S. EPA has a health advisory threshold of 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure to drinking water.
2. Dayton asked area city managers this month to co-sign a letter urging Wright-Patterson and the Air Force to act more quickly to resolve concerns a groundwater contamination plume could reach the Huffman Dam well field. The response to the city request thus far has been mixed.
3. Dayton, Ohio EPA, and Wright-Patterson authorities most recently met this week in ongoing talks about how to handle groundwater contamination concern.