The city of Dayton has acknowledged that a chemical contaminant found near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was also used at a city-owned firefighter training center. The news comes to light as the city has, for months, been increasing pressure on Wright-Patt to stop the flow of contaminated groundwater from the Base into the Huffman Damn.
The man-made chemicals, per and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, are used in industrial and consumer products, and as a fire fighting agent.
According to Dayton officials, they first learned about the chemicals used at the city’s firefighter training center in 2016 and, as a result, shut down several drinking water wells in the nearby Tait’s Hill well field.
The city notified the Ohio EPA and Wright-Patt of the contaminated site earlier in February. The Ohio EPA has now listed the McFadden Avenue site as a potential source for the earlier contamination and ordered the city to take action.
WYSO talked to Wright-Patt spokeswoman Marie Vanover about accusations by the city that the Base has been too slow to act on potential water contamination.
“Our Airman and their families are members of the same community and we drink the same water, so we share the concerns about any type of contaminants that were produced by the legacy fire fighting foam that were used, obviously on base and within the city of Dayton,” she said.
Vanover says the base has been diligent in its efforts to protect local water supplies. Base officials detailed those efforts in a letter to Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein on Tuesday.
Dayton City Officials say they "tested and identified elevated levels of PFAS in the groundwater near the vicinity of its Fire Training Center." Yet, they also contend that, "Because the Tait's Hill and Huffman Dam wells are approximately three miles apart and because the underlying geology differs, the City is confident that the Tait's Hill wells are not contributing to the contamination threat near Wright-Patterson."
The Ohio EPA, Wright-Patt, and the city of Dayton all say that no drinking water used by Dayton residents has been affected by the contamination and remains safe to use.