Intermittent toxicity levels have been detected in the city’s wastewater, Water Reclamation Plant Director Paul Solanics said last week.
Mr. Solanics explained to the City Council Public Works Committee that toxicity tests on wastewater are done as part of the requirements from the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Positive hits keep occurring, he said.
“Something has gotten through the system,” Mr. Solanics said, but officials are not sure what.
“We want to get to the bottom of this,” he said. “We have no idea what it is.”
Mr. Solanics said the toxicity is very mild, but continued hits will affect the city’s permit status with the EPA eventually mandating that the source be determined. There would be a timeframe required and it could be a costly endeavor, he said.
“We are going to get to the bottom of this before it becomes mandated as part of our permit,” he said. “It’s important to get ahead of the curve before there is a problem.”
Currently, the city is seeking proposals for an outside laboratory to do testing and an evaluation of the wastewater.
Toxic elements have the potential to affect wildlife and the natural ecosystem of downstream waters, he said.
“It’s better to be proactive,” Councilwoman Nancy E. Meany said.
Mr. Solanics said the plant has reviewed the chemicals used in the process and the toxic hits have nothing to do with the plant process.
“We are not finding anything obvious,” Mr. Solanics said. “We will talk to professionals regarding evaluating our wastewaters.”
Toxicity tests are done quarterly as part of the 2021 permit. Prior tests were done annually but with the repeated hits, the EPA has mandated they occur more frequently.
Mr. Solanics said cost estimates of the outside testing have not yet been determined.