Director's Letter

Latest Update

Dear Valued Water Customer,

Let me start by assuring you that your water is not only safe for consumption, but the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency describes Dayton’s drinking water quality in one word: Excellent. We meet all federal and state regulatory requirements, and we work hard every day to keep it that way.

Recently, Montgomery County put out a press release reminding you of a situation that we reported to you over a year ago. As you may remember, we sent you a letter early last year letting you know that we detected the manmade chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in our water monitoring wells. These 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 are also widely used in firefighting foams and in aerospace applications, such as at military installations across the country. You can find more information about PFAS at https://www.epa.gov/pfas, and https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html

When we detected the chemicals, we acted quickly, and our fast response was praised by environmental agencies. In fact, this year Dayton was designated a Groundwater Guardian Community for the 25th consecutive year by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian program recognizes communities that successfully educate the public and protect groundwater. 

We want to assure you that we are always testing our water supply for contaminants. We sample above and beyond what is required and the water we deliver to you meets or exceeds all drinking water standards for quality. Our sampling for PFAS resulted in 7 to 18 parts per trillion (ppt), significantly below the 70 ppt limit established by the EPA. To put this in context, 1 part per trillion represents a grain of sand in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

We will keep working with our partners across the region to address the PFAS issue. We have been in constant contact with Montgomery County about our PFAS testing and efforts to correct this issue, including correspondence from October, November and December of 2018. As recently as June 2019, we provided the County with all PFAS data submitted to the Ohio EPA. In fact, the City, Ohio EPA and key stakeholders meet monthly and quarterly to work on sampling, testing and monitoring PFAS. 

Here’s what we do to protect our water supply and deliver quality water to you:

  • Daily, our water distribution system is evaluated, with analysts collecting samples from across the area. 
  • In addition, water treatment plant employees perform water quality testing every two hours around the clock. 
  • We proactively monitor groundwater using monitoring wells. We take production wells out of rotation when these chemicals are detected nearby. 
  • We work closely with the Ohio EPA to monitor chemical levels in the water to assure we are providing you with clean, safe water.
  • We aggressively seek to hold responsible parties accountable. We have filed a federal lawsuit against five companies that manufactured and marketed the products that ultimately leached the chemical into our water source.
  • We sample above and beyond regulatory requirements to ensure that our water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards for quality.
  • We offer all our city residential users the ability to test the water coming into their homes. Upon request, our laboratory staff offers free in-home water quality sampling, including testing for hardness, alkalinity, chlorine, bacteria, metals, and inorganics. 
  • We maintain a Central Water Quality Laboratory, one of the first municipal labs in Ohio to sample for PFAS in groundwater. The Ohio EPA has approved the Dayton sampling protocol as a standard of excellence and a model for consistency. 

We remain on top of the situation and will continue to deliver safe water to you.

Finally, the County has voiced concerns about Dayton maintaining water pressure during a natural disaster or infrastructure failure. That is a legitimate concern considering we have had two incidents this year resulting in decreased water pressure. 

Let me assure you that we exceed best practices for backup power to our water plants. We have primary and secondary electrical feeds from different substations to each of our water plants, pump stations and well fields. In fact, our system currently has backup systems at two separate water treatment plants ready for use as needed. It would be fiscally unwise to add another, extremely costly, electrical generation backup system, as suggested by the County. Truth be told, we would need six or seven generators the size of train engines at each of the two plants to fully backup our system. While that is physically doable, it would cost you, our customers, around $45.2million. That would equate to about another 2% in addition to the required annual rate increases being added to your City of Dayton water bill, for something, quite frankly, we do not need. 

We are dedicated to keeping you informed about our water supply and your drinking water. A Q&A can be found on our website here. You can also find updated information on our social media pages and here. And you are always welcome to call or email me at
cityhall@daytonohio.gov.

We appreciate you and we are honored to be able to work every day to provide you with reliable, high quality water.

Sincerely,

Michael Powell Signature

Michael Powell
Director, Department of Water

June 2018

Dear Valued Water Customer,

Earlier this year, the City of Dayton alerted the community about elevated levels of PFAS contaminants near areas of the Mad River Wellfield, based upon testing in nearby early warning monitoring wells.

Since our last update, the City began using an updated PFAS testing methodology approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These updated testing methods enable the City to detect PFAS at much lower levels than previously possible and to test the treated water provided to residents and customers. Recently, the City tested treated water using these new methods, results were 7-13 parts per trillion (ppt), lower than the U.S. EPA health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion.

The City's water remains safe, with readings well below the EPA health advisory limit. Additionally, the City will continue to use the latest available technology to proactively monitor and safeguard our drinking water in coordination with the Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA.

In the last 6 months, the City has completed the installation of 77 of 150 additional monitoring wells planned to enhance the monitoring system network. Testing data collected from the expanded monitoring network will be used to isolate the source(s) of PFAS and to optimize pumping in well fields to ensure the highest quality water is delivered to customers.

For more information on this issue please visit our website.

Sincerely,

Michael Powell SignatureMichael Powell
Director, Department of Water

About PFAS

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are chemicals 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. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a limit for PFAS as it relates to health impacts at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The City's treated water samples indicated low levels of PFAS--less than 13 ppt, significantly below the level the U.S. EPA considers a health issue.

What do parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt) concentrations in drinking water mean in simple terms?

Parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt) are the most commonly used terms to describe very small amounts or trace levels of contaminants in drinking water.

Consider this:

  • One ppb is the equivalent of one drop of impurity in 500 barrels of water or 1 cent out of $10 million.
  • One ppt is the equivalent of one drop of impurity in 500,000 barrels of water -or- traveling 6 inches out of a 93 million-mile journey toward the sun.

Source: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/eie/Pages/DrinkingWaterConcentrations.aspx

April 2018

Dayton Water Department Customers and Residents,

First, I want to state clearly that your drinking water is safe for consumption.

In February, the City of Dayton alerted the community about possible elevated levels of PFAS contaminants near the Huffman Dam area of the Mad River Wellfield, following earlier indicators of such contaminants at nearby monitoring wells.

The City has also identified elevated levels of PFAS (read about PFAS below) in groundwater near the Dayton Fire Training Center, located on McFadden Street. It is believed this contamination results from use of foam in training exercises. The Fire Training Center is near the Tait’s Hill area of Mad River Wellfield.

As a proactive measure, the City shut down wells closest to the contamination as a precaution. This action was taken to ensure that groundwater contamination found near these two locations would not be pumped or used to produce Dayton’s drinking water that ultimately is delivered to customers.

The City continues to test for PFAS at both locations and at the water treatment facility. At no point has the City found PFAS in the water provided to residents and customers.

Dayton continues to work closely with Ohio EPA and other Source Water Protection Program partners to protect the Huffman and Tait’s Hill wells, to preserve and protect the water supply. The City is also complying with Ohio EPA directives regarding response to the contamination discovered in both areas of the wellfield.

It is imperative that the City of Dayton, the Ohio EPA, and other Source Water Protection Program partners continue to work collaboratively to return the Mad River Wellfield (which contains the Tait's Hill, Rhorer's Island, Eastwood and Huffman areas) back to full capacity as one of Dayton's water supply sources.

Dayton's drinking water has been and remains safe for consumption.

Sincerely,

Michael Powell Signature

Michael Powell,
Director, Department of Water

February 2018

Dear Valued Water Customer,

Let me start out by assuring you that your water is safe for consumption. Now, I want to tell you about a developing situation and the safeguards that are in place to assure you will continue to receive safe and healthy water.

As a preventative measure and to ensure the quality of our water, we maintain an early warning monitoring system designed to alert our team of highly qualified scientists and water professionals of potential risks. This sophisticated, state-of-the-art network is designed to give us an opportunity to respond to a risk before drinking water is impacted. Recent testing from our early warning monitoring wells indicates certain chemical contaminants are migrating from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base toward Dayton's Huffman Dam wells into the "raw" or untreated water we use as a source for some of our drinking water. The sampling data strongly indicates that the contamination is the direct result of activities occurring on the Air Force base.

The specific contaminants are man-made chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). These 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 widely used in firefighting foams and in aerospace applications, such as at military installations across the country. You can find more information about PFAS at https://www.epa.gov/pfas and https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html.

The EPA has established a limit for this chemical as it relates to health impacts at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Dayton's early warning network has detected PFAS at less than 10 ppt (parts per trillion). This is significantly below the level health risk level. Our drinking water has been and remains safe for consumption. 

Although we are not the cause of this problem, and the contaminants are not at a level that is considered unsafe, we are nonetheless taking proactive steps to prevent the contamination from negatively impacting our water system. Unfortunately, the Air Force has not acted, and that is why I am writing. We are working with the Ohio EPA and federal EPA to devise a quick resolution from the base.

We are taking these precautionary measures to ensure that we maintain exceptional, high quality drinking water for all our customers. We are continuing to monitor this situation closely to track the amount of PFAS being released by the base and will keep you updated when there are new developments. Until that time, rest assured that we are on top of the situation and will continue to deliver safe water to you.

For additional information, please go to https://daytonohio.gov/PFAS. If you have questions, please email cityhall@daytonohio.gov.

Sincerely,

Michael Powell SignatureMichael Powell
Director, Department of Water