Dayton Daily News Community Conversation: How are we protecting our water for the future?

The Dayton region has a plentiful supply of drinking water that’s critical to the health of our local residents and economy.

That’s why the next Dayton Daily News Community Conversation will examine what our local leaders are doing to protect that precious resource.

The Dayton Daily News’ Community Conversation: Protecting Our Water for the Future was held at 6:30 p.m. on April 21, live on the newspaper’s Facebook page. It was hosted by Dayton Daily News Editor Jim Bebbington and Reporter Ismail Turay Jr.

“This region has a long history of effort to protect its water resources and we think it’s important for our coverage now to dig into the next generation of work being done to keep our drinking water clean and our rivers and lakes healthy,” Bebbington said.

Panelists included:

  • Abinash Agrawal, groundwater remediation expert and earth science professor at Wright State University;
  • Joe Bates, city of Xenia water treatment supervisor;
  • Becky Benna, executive director of Five Rivers MetroParks;
  • Janet Bly, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District;
  • Stephanie Keinath, vice president of strategic initiatives for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce;
  • Michael Powell, city of Dayton Department of Water director.
ExploreHow healthy are our local waterways and what’s being done to protect them?

The Dayton Daily News’ Path Forward team has been digging into the safety and sustainability of the region’s drinking water for about two years. That coverage has included stories on the Buried Valley Aquifer ― where the majority of communities in the region get their drinking water ― and potential threats to it.

In addition, we’ve written extensively about a group of harmful chemicals known as PFAS ― or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Dubbed “forever chemicals,” PFAS have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other health issues. The chemicals have been detected in low levels in more than 20 public drinking water systems throughout Southwest Ohio.

The newspaper has also dug into the region’s water infrastructure, some of which are a century old. We’ve talked to local municipalities about how much treated water is leaked each year because of aging pipes, their plans to repair or replace the pipes and how that may affect water customers’ bills.

ExploreDayton loses billions of gallons of water every year. What is it doing to stop the costly leaks?

The Dayton Dayton News also has looked into the health of the region’s waterways, and how runoffs from agricultural and urban development are affecting them, along with our drinking water. We talked to experts who said the problem will hit taxpayers and property owners in the pocketbooks to the tune of millions of dollars if more is not done to reduce those storm water runoffs.

The Dayton Daily News also is working with area organizations and agencies to make a difference in the community. As part of the Bee the Change campaign, $1 from every new subscription between April and June will be donated to Five Rivers MetroParks for its local pollinator prairies.