Air Force Won’t Pay Towns’ Widefield Aquifer Contamination Costs
Air Force Won’t Pay Towns’ Widefield Aquifer Contamination Costs.
The Air Force doesn’t plan to reimburse three Colorado communities for the money spent responding to water contamination caused by toxic firefighting foam previously used at a military base, potentially leaving the towns with an $11 million tab.. Firefighting foam used at Peterson Air Force Base for decades seeped into the Widefield Aquifer, making well water in southern El Paso County unsafe to drink.
Security, Widefield and Fountain’s water districts have so far spent $6 million responding to the contamination, and that is expected to balloon to $12.7 million by the end of 2018, the Gazette reported.
The Air Force has pledged $4.3 million in aid, and only $1.7 million of that amount will go to the water districts.
The military plans to continue studying the toxic chemicals in the foam and their effect on residents’ health until 2019.
"We need to get going on those things before the 2020s."
Fountain plans to raise water rates by 5.3 percent this year, and Security plans to study a rate hike this fall.
Widefield officials don’t expect to raise rates, though its long term solution — a new treatment plant for 10 affected water wells, could add $10 million to $12 million to their costs.
It is paying Colorado Springs Utilities for uncontaminated water in the meantime for $1 million a year.
Fountain officials have budgeted $4.2 million in fixes through 2018.