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Dayton Citizens' Water Brigade To Hold Teach-In

Signs around the Miami Valley demarcate the boundaries of the well fields and source water protection areas.
Lewis Wallace
/
WYSO
Dayton's wellfields supply water for an estimated 400,000 people in the area.

 A new group called the Dayton Citizens’ Water Brigade is holding a teach-in tonight about the City of Dayton’s water protection policy.

The group opposes changes to the policy that’s been in place for over 25 years. The policy was created as an attempt to keep hazardous chemicals away from the wellfields that supply water to 400,000 people around Dayton, including most Montgomery County suburbs. It forbids new chemicals within a set geographic area, and provides incentives for companies to reduce chemical storage already in place through a buy-back program.

Recently, the city has proposed shrinking the area that’s protected, among a set of other changes that include adding more chemicals and activities to the list of what’s forbidden within the area.

“When they wanted to change it, I was really concerned about what and why and really, really very alarmed at the fact that they wanted to reduce the area that was protected around the drinking water,” says Teri Schoch with the Dayton Citizens Water Brigade. She’s hopeful the teach-in and an October 15 “speak-out” at the City Commission meeting will engage more members of the general public with the issue. She thinks Dayton has been an innovative leader in water protection and doesn’t want to see the city lose that reputation.

The city has said it is just going on the latest scientific modeling of how long it might take contaminants to reach the wells if there’s a spill.

Perhaps ironically, business leaders aren’t happy with the proposal either: they want more leniency in the ability to keep chemicals within the protected area, and none appear to be advocating specifically in favor of reducing the area. It’s not clear what the timeline is for the city to find a compromise.

The Citizens’ Water Brigade teach-in is planned for 6:30pm Monday, Oct. 6 at the Yellow Cab building.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.