The City of Dayton water department says it’s considering feedback from the public and businesses on a proposal to change the city’s drinking water protections.
The city’s water system, which serves 400,000 people including customers in Kettering, Vandalia, Riverside, Trotwood and Brookville, pumps water from two industrial parts of Dayton. Since the late 80s, city zoning laws have limited the hazardous chemicals companies can have in those areas.
Now Dayton is considering some changes, including finding ways to make the policy more flexible for businesses located above the water supply. The city has also proposed reducing the area that’s covered by the law, citing reduced demand in the wellfields, which means potentially contaminated water would travel less rapidly towards the wells in case of an accident. Shrinking that protection area has been especially controversial, and last week the Dayton Environmental Advisory Board sent a letter criticizing that part of the plan.
Businesses aren’t necessarily happy with the new proposal, either; after a series of meetings with the water department, they have said they’re more concerned with flexibility within the area than with how large the area is. All parties, however, have commended the city’s water department for thoroughness and inclusion in the process of revising the rules, and no one has contested elements of the proposal that expand the list of chemicals and practices to be forbidden within the Source Water Protection Area (SWPA).
The water department now says it’s back to the drawing board to try to find a compromise, and a new SWPA proposal could go before the city council as soon as this fall.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.