Water District says Peterson Air Force Base could be responsible for drinking water contamination

by Emily Allen, originally posted on June 21, 2016


WIDEFIELD, Colo. – Widefield Water District’s manager said at a meeting on Tuesday that Peterson Air Force Base is suspected to be the source of the contamination.

Tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found high levels of PFC’s in Security, Widefield and Fountain water districts. PFC’s are chemicals found in Teflon, Scotchgard and firefighting foam.

Peterson Air Force Base uses firefighting foam as part of its training.

Widefield Water District manager Steve Wilson said in the past, Peterson tested high on levels of PFC’s, though he said local water districts have not seen the study results themselves.

A spokesperson for Peterson Air Force Base told KRDO NewsChannel 13 in an email that Air Force Civil Engineer Center conducted a preliminary assessment to see if the base is contributing to PFC’s in the drinking water. During the assessment, a team reviewed documents, conducted interviews and visited the site to evaluate any potential source of PFCs on Peterson.

The assessment has wrapped up, and now the Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Peterson Air Force Base are reviewing the documents before sending their findings to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

So far, Peterson has requested CDPHE test three wells down gradient of an Air Force fire training area that is no longer in use.

Peterson Air Force spokesperson Stephen Brady said the base has used firefighting foam responsibly and followed guidelines laid out by the EPA.

“Until testing is complete, it is too soon to know the exact source of the PFCs. As good stewards of the environment, we take any environmental concerns seriously that could be impacting our neighbors and communities,” said Brady in an email.

Current and former military installations across the country are undergoing these assessments. Right now, Peterson is scheduled to have more extensive testing done in May 2017, but depending on the results of the preliminary assessment, Peterson can ask the testing be done sooner.

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