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Dayton Demands Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Respond To Water Contamination

The Great Miami River is connected to the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, where Dayton gets its water.
Lewis Wallace

Dayton officials are asking the Air Force to stop what they say is groundwater contaminated by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from flowing into Huffman Dam. Officials say samples from the city’s early warning monitoring wells network alerted the city to chemical contaminants in the water.


Officials are emphasizing they have not found any of the contaminants in water provided to residents. They say Dayton's drinking water remains safe for consumption.

According to the city, testing data indicates the chemicals originated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The chemicals -- per and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS -- are man-made, and linked to industrial and consumer products.

Dayton Director of Water, Michael Powell, said "Shutting down production wells is a great short-term solution,” but added it would not “solve this problem in the long run."

“What we would like to see is something done, from the standpoint of, we will call it gradient control along the base boundary, so that any contaminants found doesn’t migrate off the property towards our well systems,” he said.


Again, The city says the contamination levels are not considered unsafe according to EPA standards.

Still, in a statement released from the city, Mayor Nan Whaley said the city is working with state and federal Environmental Protection Agencies to respond to the contamination. And, the city is taking steps to prevent its water system from being further affected.


The technical information below has been provided by the city of Dayton:

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals have been used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s and are often found in the environment because of their widespread use in products such as coatings for textiles, paper products and cookware. They also are used to formulate some firefighting foams and in the aerospace and aviation industries, such as at military installations nationwide. More information about PFAS can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pfas and https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established a limit for PFAS as it relates to health impacts at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The City's monitoring network samples indicated low levels of PFAS -- less than 10 ppt, significantly below the level the U.S. EPA considers to be a health issue. 

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.