LIVE: Public meeting on water contamination in Security, Widefield and Fountain

originally posted on July 9, 2016


FOUNTAIN, Colo. (The Gazette)

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the water situation in Security, Widefield and Fountain, where it’s been revealed that toxic chemicals contaminating groundwater for those communities possibly came from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

How can I learn more?

A town hall meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of Mesa Ridge High School, 6070 Mesa Ridge Pkwy. Livestream coverage will be available on Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Air Force, El Paso County Public Health and local water districts will be in attendance.

How can residents filter their own water?

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends only one kind of water filter when it comes to removing perfluorinated compounds in the Widefield aquifer: Reverse osmosis filters.

Such filters range in cost from about $150 to more than $600. One must be installed underneath each faucet from which residents want to drink water.

Ron Falco, with the department’s Water Quality Control Division, acknowledged that another filtration system — carbon filters — will rid water of PFCs. However, he recommended against using such filters in homes, because health officials are not certain how often those filters must be replaced for water flowing from the Widefield aquifer — regardless of what manufacturers say.

“For in-home use at this time, at least, we don’t know enough about how that carbon would work to be able to recommend that,” Falco said. “And in order to be safe, that’s why we’re recommending reverse osmosis.”

How do I know if my home is at risk of receiving water contaminated with PFCs?

Colorado’s health department has established a website outlining where people are most at risk: It includes a search function, allowing residents to find out if their house is at risk.

The map might not always be correct, however, because some residents in blue-shaded areas in Security and Widefield may still be at risk of getting contaminated well water, local water district officials said.

On days when residents use more water, the districts rely more heavily on the Widefield aquifer — meaning a greater share of residents receive contaminated well water. As a result, areas that appear to be safe on the state’s map might still get PFC-laden water in those situations.

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