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Activists Renew Concerns About Dayton Water Policy

Darryl Fairchild (center) appeared at a demonstration outside city hall Wednesday. He is also a candidate for City Commission. water
Lewis Wallace
/
WYSO
Darryl Fairchild (center) appeared at a demonstration outside city hall Wednesday. He is also a candidate for City Commission.

Activists are gearing up for another round of debate over the city of Dayton’s source water protection policy.

After more than a year of discussion, a compromise plan will go before the Dayton City Commission next week that would update the policy, which dates back to the late 1980s.

The current law designates an area around the city’s wellfields where a set list of chemicals is pretty stringently regulated.

Environmental advocates remain concerned about parts of the proposed changes.

“It’s like we’re inviting people to come and play with chemicals under a protected area,” says Bill Marvin, head of the Five Oaks Neighborhood Association and a professor at the University of Dayton. “There are plenty of places in Dayton where people can go that don’t involve risk to the water supply and mess with the chemicals."

 

Marvin appeared with a handful of other concerned citizens at a demonstration outside City Hall Wednesday.

 

City staff have redrawn the map to make the protected area slightly smaller, which is one of Marvin’s concerns. There’s also not a clear process right now for businesses that want an exception to the rules, and the revisions would create a clearer roadmap for that. Those changes are a response to requests from at least one small business owner in the area who has had a variance request denied in the past.

The changes would also expand the list of prohibited chemicals and increase fines for violations. City commission members aren’t yet commenting on how they might vote, but they’ll hear comments at a public hearing on Wednesday, July 29.

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