Update to the Community

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PIQUA – The City of Piqua reports that water testing, soil sampling, and air modeling have all been completed following ceased battery testing operations at the former water treatment plant. The site and areas of the community surrounding the site are free of pollutants and safe for residents. 

The City has concluded its review of the impacts of the battery testing at the site and is looking to recommission the site for other purposes now that concerns about the air, water, and soil quality have been resolved.

Below is a summary of the results from all completed tests. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) reviewed the plans before they were executed, as well as the results.

Water sampling results
Contracted to WSP USA Environment & Infrastructure Inc. by the City of Piqua

The sampling conducted included surface water, potable water and wipe samples in the vicinity of the former water treatment plant and at Roadside Dog Park.

Copper was detected in the potable water from the dog park fountain, likely caused by the water lines leading to the park not being fully flushed before the sample was taken.

The sampling results from the City’s drinking water plant confirmed that the water is safe for drinking, bathing, and cooking, and results from sampling of source waters in the area show no concerning contamination levels.


Air modeling results

Conducted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Ohio EPA conducted its own air quality modeling to determine any potential contaminants released into the air by the battery testing activities. The results revealed no concerns about long-term health concerns.

According to Ohio EPA’s report:

“Ohio EPA mapped out potential contaminant plumes based on meteorological conditions reported at the Dayton International Airport for the select burn dates. The model consisted of all known circumstances of the burns, including weather, wind direction, burn duration, and mass of battery combusted. The modeling showed all potential areas of emissions exposure were within 1,000 feet of the facility’s fence line. None of the modeled days showed the possibility of serious and/or long-term health effects from emissions exposure during the burn events.”

Soil sampling results
Contracted to WSP USA Environment & Infrastructure Inc. by the City of Piqua

Soil sampling results near the battery testing areas revealed only one substance to be at concentrations above screening levels. Arsenic is naturally occurring in southwest Ohio soils and can be found at elevated levels.

According to WSP’s report: “Considering background levels of arsenic in southwest Ohio and the site use history, WSP considers it to be unlikely that the arsenic detected in site soil samples is attributed to site activities related to lithium-ion battery testing and burning.”

The Ohio EPA recommends decontaminating the test room of residual metals before further use or demolishing the structure. The City does not plan to utilize the test room any further and will comply with the Ohio EPA’s recommendations.

 

What’s next at the former water treatment plant site

The City of Piqua’s former water treatment plant site will be recommissioned for use as a public safety training center through a joint use agreement with Bowling Green State University. The newly constructed building, as well as the former water treatment plant, on site will be used to train for situations such as live fire evolutions, ladder training, search and rescue functions, rappelling tower rope training, and forcible entry practice.

Piqua City Commission is exploring a resolution regarding the burning of materials based on fire classification at the property to ensure that the community is protected from similar concerns in the future.