Is our drinking water safe? Chemical spills alarm protectors

It’s been three decades since firefighters avoided spraying water on a burning Sherwin Williams warehouse filled with 1.5 million gallons of paint and other chemicals out of fear it would contaminate the giant aquifer that serves up to three million customers.

Nothing of that magnitude has happened since, but officials say it wouldn’t take a major industrial accident like the Sherwin-Williams fire to contaminate part of the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer that sits below most of this region.

A train car derailment, auto crash or leaky underground petroleum tank could do it. Even chemicals from firefighting foam has proven to be a threat here locally.

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A Dayton Daily News investigation publishing Sunday found the vulnerability of the water supply is being tested on virtually a daily basis, requiring better coordination between institutions and more awareness in the public about the critical need to protect the region’s water.

Miami Valley residents often take clean water for granted, presuming the local supply is as endlessly abundant as the air they breathe.

But while officials say the water in the region remains safe to drink, hundreds of chemical spills in recent years have caused alarm.

Sunday's investigation will published in the Dayton Daily News and be found on


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