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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 began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.