Dayton Ohio’s Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP)

The Sierra Club is working in Dayton against legislation that weakens water quality standards! The Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) proposal is wrong for Dayton. The plan would reduce areas of well field protection by nearly 25%!

DaytonWaterOneSource[1]The plan, in part, calls for the implementation of a Risk Management Plan. The Risk Assessment Plan is appropriating money from the Wellfield Fund to hire a Risk Assessor and a Consultant. The new personnel are to hold industry accountable for pollution in the groundwater or aquifers.

The plan is  flawed, because once the chemicals reach the water supply, the industries have already contaminated the discharge ponds and groundwater! By the time the pollution is found, the damage can be severe. When several different companies use the same chemical, the Risk Assessor and Consultant cannot be sure to adequately determine which industry caused the contamination. The result is chemical pollution that cannot be properly accounted for. Furthermore, water remediation is an expensive solution to decreasing well field boundaries.

The Sierra Club opposes shrinking the boundaries of protection. The Ohio EPA guidelines regulate in such a way as to allow the reduction of boundaries, yet caution strongly against doing so. The Environmental Advisory Board from the City of Dayton spoke at the May 12th 2015 Dayton Plan Board meeting in opposition of the SWPP. Scott Bushbaum, Sierra Club Ohio Chapter volunteer spoke at the May 12th meeting in opposition to decreasing well field boundaries. Other area groups including the Dayton Women’s League of Voters, the Dayton Garden Club and the Dayton Citizen’s Water Brigade have voiced opposition to zoning code language and map boundary changes. As advocacy groups and local professionals in the water industry speak at legislative sessions to warn against changes to the SWPP, the Dayton Plan Board votes to pass the proposal to the Dayton City Commission in a meeting held on June 9th 2015.

At the July 29, 2015 Dayton City Commission meeting at City Hall, Dayton resident, David Hurwitz called for both amendments to be remanded to the Dayton Plan Board for the wording of “substantial risk” in the zone code language and the Environmental Advisory Board’s recommendation to oppose the SWPP.  New data presented at the July 29 meeting is said to show a gross amount of three million pounds of hazardous materials stored within the newly proposed SWPP boundaries. This figure is found to be over thirty three percent less than previously permitted with all industries at maximum TMDI levels in the protected well field operation area.

Sierra Club volunteer, Scott Bushbaum spoke in opposition to the proposals based on the Zone 5 well field where the Rumpke Recycling Center is located and protectionist actions versus expensive water remediation costs. DCWB Organizer, Marcia Snow brought case studies from Wright State University on specific data gathered in opposition to variance text changes. Commissioners Joey Williams and Jeffrey Mills both indicated that thirty years of technology helped develop the new plan. Commissioner Williams cited higher fine structures for violators, an increase of prohibitive categories within  well field operations and  improvements to variance measures as reasons for passing the new Ordinance 53. Later, comments from Tammi Clements, Dayton City Water Director were heard regarding “substantial risk” language in the variance amendment.

Ms. Clements mentioned over eighty business and stakeholder meetings took place as the legislative process began in 2014. Mayor Nan Whaley said that the passage of the amended case numbers, Z-010-2015 and Z-007-2015 in her words, “strengthen” the Source Water Protection Plan. The remarks of the Commission appointed Environmental Advisory Board, the Sierra Club Miami Group, the Dayton Citizen’s Water Brigade, Ohio Citizen Action, the Dayton League of Women Voters, other local groups and concerned citizens were not enough to dissuade the Commission who voted to pass both text code amendments and zoning map boundaries.  The meeting adjourned after ten o’clock P.M.

Look for more  updates on the Source Water Protection Plan from partner organizations and the Miami Group on the Dayton Connections page!

 

Scott Bushbaum

Sierra Club Miami Group Executive Committee