By: Mary Macrae – Staff Writer
On Monday, Nov. 17, there was a town hall meeting for water consumers in which the city of Dayton Water Department informed citizens about the proposed changes to Dayton’s Source Water Protection Program (SWPP).
According to SWPP’s official website, the mission is stated as “since 1988 our goal for the city of Dayton is to balance a safe, abundant drinking water supply and continued economic development.”
This specific program helps regulate the amount of certain chemicals in the Source Water Protection Area, which is the land that occupies the city’s drinking water wells, where the water is pumped out of the buried valley aquifer. This provides water to approximately 400,000 residents, according to Dan Striebich, a junior engineering major who interns at Plug Smart and is also a member of UD’s River Stewards.
Striebich said the proposed changes made by the SWPP were not taken well by many of the citizens, and, in fact, only one person agreed with the new proposed plan. He said the main source of discontentment came from policy issue number seven, which allows businesses within the Source Water Protection Area to apply for an increase in their amount of chemical pounds.
In the current plan, businesses are allowed to have 160 chemical pounds, and the new proposal allows them to have 10,000 pounds, Striebich said. This means that there is an increase of about 6,250 percent in the amount and spread of harmful chemicals above the aquifer. Approximately 150 citizens, including 20 UD students, attended the meeting, according to Leslie King, director of the Rivers Institute. The UD students at this meeting were River Stewards from the Rivers Institutes at UD. River Stewards strive to support and protect rivers as well as all water resources because of their belief in the importance of the protection of water.
“This is an issue that greatly affects UD students. All of our water that comes to campus is from the aquifer and is treated by the city of Dayton. If any spills were to occur in the Source Water Protection Area, the drinking water wells would be affected, therefore making much less available water to drink,” Streibich said.
Dayton’s water system, according to the SWPP’s website, “supplies drinking water for 400,000 users in Dayton and Montgomery County, the aquifer underlying the Dayton area stores 1.5 trillion gallons of water and Dayton’s well fields yield 2,000 gallons per minute.”
The SWPP is in a constant state of trying to provide the right plan that will protect and secure the Dayton water system and ensure it will continue to be efficient, strong and reliable to all Dayton citizens.
To get involved with the program or the proposed future plans, visit rivers.udayton.edu or www.cityofdayton.org/cmo/Pages/SWPP.aspx.