Misguided water protection protests

Photo of BP fuel farm on Brandt Pike in Dayton Ohio

On Brandt Pike there is this little chemical storage facility- right over the aquifer.

The Dayton Citizens Water Brigade are absolutely right- we need to protect the Dayton well field and our aquifer.

However, protesting the changes in the boundaries and rules on hazardous chemical storage above the well field isn’t the real elephant in the living room.

No one wants to discuss the fact that the BP fuel storage facility is sitting directly over the aquifer with millions of gallons of toxic fuel- connected via underground pipes. Or that there are a few superfund sites already on top of the well field that are being managed, but are still dangerous.

If we really cared about our drinking water protection- we’d do the following things:

Work to move the BP Fuel farm away from our drinking water supply.

Find some large industrial users of water to start drawing down the well field. Since Delphi closed down and we got a Racino- one of our major users of industrial water dried up- and the water table has been rising. As it rises, it has better chance of connecting with superfund contamination- and of flooding downtown buildings- which are already running into issues with heavy rains.

The city attempted to jack up industrial bulk water at the same time as they jumped our residential water bills (yes, you pay double or more than what you used to). Cargill decided to drill their own wells- others left. Nice job City leaders.

The issue isn’t an additional cutting lathe or spray booth- the issue is large scale storage of industrial solvents, chemicals and, oh yeah, gasoline, on top of the well field, to prevent another Sherwin Williams type disaster.

Proper firewalls, retention systems, fireproof vaults, etc – can handle daily industrial production uses. Let’s update the Dayton Well Field Protection Ordinance to make common sense fixes.

Let’s get focused on what matters, and what could contaminate our water supply right now, not on the small stuff.

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Darryl Fairchild Recent comment authors
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Darryl Fairchild


You should be thanking the members of the Dayton Citizens’ Water Brigade and the members of the Environmental Advisory Board (EAB). When the Water Department introduced their proposal to change the Source Water Protection Program in May of 2014, they had reduced the boundaries by 40%. This reduction placed the BP storage facility outside of the SWPA! Thanks to their work, the Water Department redrew the lines. To say they do not want to talk about the risks from the BP storage facility isn’t accurate.

You are right to want a comprehensive approach to protecting our drinking water. That is one of the reasons I oppose the current proposal. There are some missing parts. The Miami Conservancy District has a good blogpost about the proposed changes. Of the eight changes 4 reduce risk, 2 increase risk and 2 are mixed.

The EAB has very reasonable, common sense language that would fix the ordinance process, why it hasn’t been adopted yet is puzzling.

These two groups the Dayton Citizens’ Water Brigade and the Environmental Advisory Board have done incredible work to fix a very bad original proposal. There is still work to be done and they have been the ones deeply engaged and mindful of the details.