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The original item was published from 11/8/2023 2:25:00 PM to 11/15/2023 9:05:01 PM.

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City Programs & Notifications

Posted on: November 8, 2023

[ARCHIVED] November 8, 2023 Update to our Community

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Water Sampling Activities

The City of Piqua, with guidance from the Ohio EPA, has facilitated testing of the conditions at the former water plant as well as drinking water sources throughout the City. To do this work, we have contracted with WSP Global, Inc., an internationally recognized environmental consulting company with local offices. As we receive the data and analysis of these testing results, we will share with the community. It remains the City’s priority to protect human health and the environment.

Tests were conducted on wastewater collected at the site during Energy Safety Response Group’s (ESRG) operation. This wastewater was captured, collected, and sent for offsite disposal in a permitted facility. Piqua has received results from May 17, 2023, and October 2, 2023, samplings for 28 metals and anions from this wastewater. Results show that this wastewater is comparable to commercial and industrial wastewaters from industry that are processed by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).

Additional water sampling was performed on November 1, 2023, by WSP. These samples were taken for the same 28 metals and anions as the previous samples. These samples were taken at the City’s three drinking water sources; finished water leaving the water treatment plant; and at the water fountain dog bowl at Roadside Park.

Along with the water sampling, swab tests were taken on the surface of the water fountain dog bowl and on a rafter of the shelter at Roadside Park. These samples were delivered by WSP to an accredited lab, and we expect to be able to share results at the Community Open House later this month.

Ohio EPA reviewed the sampling plan before it was executed.

Ohio EPA did not take the samples and has told City officials it has no plans of taking any samples at the facility. Piqua employees did not take the samples and Piqua’s water lab did not analyze the samples.

After ESRG has vacated the facility later this month, Piqua will continue to engage the environmental consulting firm, for recommendations on any future sampling needs. This should occur by the end of 2023.

Community Open House

On November 15, 2023, the City of Piqua is hosting a community open house to share updated information and answer community members’ questions at the Fort Piqua Plaza in the Ulysses S. Grant Room from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

Representatives from the city, Ohio EPA, RAPCA and the Miami County Health Department will be available to answer questions.

City of Piqua/Former Water Plan – Frequently Asked Questions

What do you want to say to the Piqua residents who are concerned?

We understand their concerns; we all want to know that our community is safe for our families. At no point since 2018 has the Ohio EPA or RAPCA reported any concerns regarding our community's air, soil, or water related to the site.

Recently, ESRG shared data with the Ohio EPA, what does that data tell us? Because this data was recorded without Ohio EPA witnessing it, it’s impossible for Ohio EPA to determine what the "normal" range was on that particular day for those pollutants. The "normal" range for results like these vary for every test, depending on factors such as length of test, what is being burned, location, weather, etc. Without knowing how these specific tests were performed, how long, where, and other factors, Ohio EPA cannot provide a normal range. With that being said, Ohio EPA is gathering information from ESRG and similar incidents/tests from around the country to try and determine what the potential impacts could have been as a result of these burns.

Can you explain the testing that the City of Piqua is doing?

The City of Piqua has worked with a specialized contractor to administer testing of wastewater removed from the site. When those results have been reviewed by the Ohio EPA, we will share those results with the community. Going forward, Ohio EPA will review any sampling and testing plans recommended by WSP.

Who is the specialized contractor and what is their expertise?

We have contracted with WSP Global, Inc. one of the world’s leading engineering, environment, and professional services firm. WSP USA’s core service offerings include environmental remediation, environmental studies, permitting and compliance assistance, public infrastructure design, geotechnical testing, and facility management. WSP has provided response services following train derailments and hazardous material spills and conducted interim remedial actions to address contamination that was

released into the environment. The WSP local staff also assist municipalities in protecting their drinking water sources, by writing and implementing Ohio EPA-regulated source water protection plans.

At the October 17, 2023, City Commission meeting a resident asked about 911 calls from the site in 2016, before the activity began, what were those calls about?

There are multiple reasons for those calls, two of the most likely are calls for service for vehicular accidents or trespassing, none of the calls related to the ESRG work.

What exactly were the ESRG violations?

There were two violations, one violation was related to the size and installation of the on-site wastewater basin. A Permit to Install (PTI) was not completed prior to the installation of the two catch basins on the 40’ by 120’ burn pad. The second violation was related to the determination that the operations caused a nuisance by having excessive smoke and odors released into neighboring areas on July 27, 2023.

What happens if ESRG doesn’t vacate the site by the deadline November 22, 2023?

ESRG has made great progress in the last two weeks. ESRG has been removing equipment and stored materials. Members of the Piqua Fire Department have witnessed the demobilization. As of now, it appears ESRG will vacate the site by November 22, 2023, as planned.

Who will be responsible to clean-up the site? Who will do the work? Who will pay for it?

The testing that will occur on the site, after ESRG vacates, will determine the amount of clean up that will be required. Determining who would do this work, if needed, and how it would be funded are decisions for the City of Piqua once data and future use of the site are determined.

What safeguards do you have in place, or will you put in place, for the firefighting training that will continue there?

The material that will be used for the fire training facility will be comparable to a fire pit that would be in a residential backyard. Controlling this training unit will be focused on firefighter safety and conditions

they will encounter during real-life events. The Fire Department follows NFPA 1403 Guidelines for live fire training and will also do search and rescue exercises in the training building.

Why didn’t you immediately ask the Ohio EPA or RAPCA to test the air, soil, and water at or near the site?

It is important to note that at each stage, the operations were reviewed and permitted by the appropriate regulatory agency, Ohio EPA and RAPCA. At no point since 2018 has the Ohio EPA or RAPCA reported any concerns regarding our community's air, soil, or water related to the site.

The City of Piqua recommended hiring an independent, third-party contractor for sampling and the Ohio EPA supported that approach.

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