The City of Dayton Water Department thinks anyone can be a hero—a Hydro Hero.

“It’s an education concept around water protection and education outreach and it’s based on the trending Marvel Comics heroes,” says Karen Thomas, marketing account management representative.

In Dayton that means learning about the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, which contains an estimated 1.5 trillion gallons of water. Simple actions like limiting the products placed on your lawn, properly disposing of chemicals and recycling trash, paint and motor oil can help protect the region’s aquifer.

Because most individuals, businesses and organizations can perform many of these actions City of Dayton Water wants everyone to get involved with the program when it formally launches later this year.

“We think that this is an excellent opportunity for us to create water advocates, ambassadors and activists,” says Thomas. “We want other municipalities, schools, businesses and other organizations to join forces with us to be able to utilize the Hydro Hero platform. We are hoping that this will be not just a Montgomery County campaign but a national and perhaps an international campaign.”

Those who wish to participate will be able to pick specific City of Dayton Water-approved tasks to complete, showing their commitment to water to the community.

One organization that has already partnered with the program is the Dayton Boys & Girls Club. While the program is still in the planning process, Thomas sees endless ways that the club will be able to participate.

“They may decide to talk about water and sell lemonade,” she says. “Or a car wash where you talk protecting the aquifer—this is where when the people come you say don’t wash your car in the driveway. Go to a car wash or other appropriate site where you can wash your car where the water doesn’t go into the storm drains because it’s not treated. We may have a pet wash. Each organization has different things that they’re doing.”

Other partner organizations include the Miami County Conservancy District, Five Rivers MetroParks and the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

“We are creating a community of alliances,” says Thomas. “Our alliance is working to get others, other businesses and community organizations, to join forces with us, whether they’re inside Montgomery County or outside, on water protection, and for us it’s protecting our aquifers, rivers, lakes and streams.”

While the program’s formal launch is not until later in the year, City of Dayton Water already introduced the concept to those who attended the Children’s Water Festival May 9 at the University of Dayton. The one-day event brings together 2,000 fourth-grade students for presentations, games and experiments on groundwater, surface water, conservation, land use and other water-related topics.

This year, one of the presentations was a Hydro Hero video on the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer.

“A lot of people don’t realize we sit on $1.5 trillion of water,” says Thomas. “We monitor (the water) with monitors in wells, we pump it, we test it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we test and we treat it. We provide the highest quality of water. It meets and exceeds (Environmental Protection Agency) standards.”

By promoting water education and protection, Thomas says City of Dayton Water hopes to increase awareness of the region’s resources and protect it for future generations.

“We know that protecting our Earth is a hot topic, but protecting our water resources is an even more intense one,” she says. “We’re creating this Hydro Hero movement (because) we want to create protectors of our water.”



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