DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Montgomery County is detailing its concerns about the city of Dayton’s water. The County says right now the drinking water is safe, but it’s concerned with what it calls the city’s “lack of transparency.”
The County is focusing on PFAS contamination, which could impact the safety and quality of drinking water. The health effects from PFAS contamination are still not fully understood, but health officials say the man-made chemicals could pose a threat to health and safety.
For that reason, the County says they’re trying to be proactive and spur the city into action.
Michael Colbert, the Montgomery County Administrator, says, “We are not saying the water is unsafe. What we are saying is the water needs to be tested regularly and comprehensively.”
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The CDC says PFAS are “man-made chemicals” that are in products like non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and firefighting foams. The CDC adds exposure to PFAS “may pose potential adverse effects for human health.”
Patrick Turnbull, the Director of Environmental Services for Montgomery County, says, “It’s evolving, the understanding of this. But there are human health concerns.”
In a letter to the Ohio EPA, the County writes they’re concerned the level of contamination could impact the safety and quality of the water, and they allege a lack of transparency from the city of Dayton.
WATCH: City of Dayton addresses water contamination concerns
The Ohio EPA first confirmed PFAS contamination in March of 2018. Colbert says, “Since that time the city of Dayton has not provided Montgomery County with a strategy around PFAS mitigation, which is how do we contain PFAS, or PFAS remediation.”
The city has been public with their displeasure with the process. Mayor Nan Whaley tweeted Friday, “I’m disappointed that this is how the County chose to raise their concerns.”
Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein added Monday, “I am concerned it appears there is a real breakdown in communication and we certainly welcome [the opportunity] to continue having those conversations in a productive setting.”
But the County is downplaying any contention. Colbert says, “I know this has been cast as some kind of war between two governments and water. What this is about is the quality of life in our community.”
The Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne released a statement about the use of PFAS, saying “our foam, which is used by all fire departments, has PFAS chemicals in them as we only use foam on petroleum fires. This seldom occurs and thus our foam is seldom used.”