Colorado mulls state limit for groundwater contamination from PFCs
Colorado mulls state limit for groundwater contamination from PFCs.
COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado health officials grappling with groundwater contamination from firefighting foam — containing a toxic chemical the federal government allows — have proposed to set a state limit to prevent more problems.
A Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment limit for the perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) also could give leverage in compelling cleanup by the Air Force, which has confirmed high levels of PFCs spreading from a military air base east of Colorado Springs.
More than 65,000 residents who relied on the underground Widefield Aquifer as a water source have had to find alternative supplies or install new water-cleaning systems as a plume of PFCs contamination moves south through the Fountain Valley watershed.
Few public health studies have been done, even though people south of Colorado Springs apparently have ingested PFCs for years in public drinking water.
At the Peterson Air Force Base, PFCs contamination of groundwater has been measured at levels up to 88,000 ppt with soil contamination levels as high as 240,000 ppt.
And Richardson said PFC levels in groundwater south of Colorado Springs — communities including Security, Widefield, Fountain, Stratmoor Hills, Garden Valley and the Security Mobile Home Park — were measured at a median level of 120 ppt — well above the EPA health advisory limit.
A group of Fountain Valley residents is calling for testing and planning to hear from health researchers.
Former EPA water quality expert Carol Campbell, who worked in the EPA’s Denver office for three decades and served as assistant regional administrator, said proposed EPA budget cuts could mean the sort of action that exposed environmental degradation at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal won’t be possible in the future.
“You could end up with the PFCs plume moving.