DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Following Wednesday’s Dayton City Commission meeting, the city manager praised Wright Patterson’s response to prevent drinking water contamination from previous firefighting activity on the base.
“We’re very pleased to see Colonel McDonald’s response with regards to they share our sense of urgency. They do have some plans moving forward,” said City Manager Shelley Dickstein.
Tuesday, base commander Col. Bradley McDonald penned a letter to Dickstein with a timeline highlighting actions taken to avoid contamination. In part, Col. McDonald said, “The Air Force is committed to protecting human health and the environment and we are working aggressively to ensure our installation and surrounding communities have access to safe drinking water.”
In 2015, inspectors found traces of toxic chemicals linked to foam previously used as a firefighting technique on the base.
As a precaution to prevent contamination into groundwater through the nearby Huffman Dam, the city shut down seven underground wells.
Col. McDonald said the base identified fire training areas and crash sites where the firefighting foam – Aqueous Film Forming Foam, or AFFF – was used. In 2016 it awarded a $2.7 million contract for a filtration unit to remove contaminates from two offline wells testing positive for the chemicals.
The base detailed its ongoing inspections and efforts to replace any remaining extinguishers and response vehicles using AFFF. Col. McDonald also said the Air Force is planning a more thorough inspection this summer to determine whether more actions are necessary.
Currently, Dayton’s drinking water is safe. Dickstein said the air force base’s cooperation is reassuring and the city’s water monitoring system should detect any problems before they get worse.
“We know well in advance if there’s some issue,” Dickstein said. “That gives us time to study, drill in on the issue and really come up with a treatment plan.”
The city said cleanup and prevention could be a costly and lengthy process, but claimed taxpayers shouldn’t notice a difference in their utility bills or water quality.Grab the FREE WDTN News App for iPhone or Android. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, weather and sports.