Once I agreed to guide a staff of neighborhood volunteers taking up the audacious job of beginning a water high quality monitoring program at our native creek, I didn’t know that poisonous chemical compounds lurked beneath the murky waters. Past our exams for alkalinity, pH, dissolved oxygen and hardness, there are indicators we don’t take a look at for. The water has contaminants that don’t have any enforceable limits — contaminants that make our ingesting water poisonous.
Fountain Creek as soon as ran as an intermittent creek — often operating dry in locations — till a inhabitants increase alongside the Entrance Vary crammed the creek with handled wastewater. Throughout rainstorms, the water swells with untreated stormwater and sweeps particles and sediment downstream to our neighbors in Pueblo. Fountain Creek has been the topic of lawsuits and complaints.
Fountain Creeks newest woe outcomes from a scarcity of oversight and inaction on the a part of the EPA. The PFOA and PFOS catastrophe has been many years within the making. These man-made contaminants, extensively used to make trade and client merchandise reminiscent of firefighting foam, carpets, materials for furnishings, paper packaging for meals and different supplies, are immune to water, grease or stains. They’re pervasive; they will’t simply be damaged down within the surroundings and have poisoned ingesting water sources. PFOA and PFOS are a part of the bigger perfluorinated chemical household; these two chemical compounds are the tip of the poisonous water iceberg.
Peterson Air Power Base has admitted to dumping 1000’s of gallons of those poisonous cancer-causing contaminants into Fountain Creek. The issue goes deeper than “dump and clear” practices. As an alternative, PFOA and PFOS quickly bio-accumulate, getting in your physique and staying there simply as they do in soil. The chemical compounds seep into water and journey to our underground aquifers.
These aquifers as soon as equipped ingesting water for a neighborhood of 70,000 individuals. However the water is not drinkable. It’s labeled poisonous and residents of Southern Colorado drank it unknowingly for many years. Because of the development of a water supply system, residents now drink their water from an alternate supply. However at a time when each drop of water is treasured, Colorado can’t afford to lose entry to our aquifers and waterways attributable to perfluorinated chemical contamination.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has carried out subsequent to nothing to handle the nationwide drawback of ingesting water contamination. Pruitt has blocked the discharge of a research displaying that poisonous chemical compounds are contaminating water provides throughout the nation. Different research present that cancers, low-birth weight, and thyroid hormone disruption are among the many very actual results of this contamination. But, EPA nonetheless sits on a crucial report from the Company for Poisonous Substances and Illness Registry, saying the knowledge will trigger a “public relations nightmare.”
The communities whose residents have been ingesting contaminated water? They’re disproportionately our army households and veterans. Many of those households have moved away or been transferred, nonetheless not figuring out the total impact on their well being from this PFOA and PFOS contamination. We want medical monitoring to detect present well being issues. The EPA wants to guide this effort in our neighborhood and in communities throughout the nation; outreach should embody affected army personnel and their households.
Presently there aren’t any EPA limits on perfluorinated chemical compounds in ingesting water. Although PFAS and PFOS have been banned for manufacture in the US, they will nonetheless be imported in client items like carpets and clothes. We want a nationwide effort to ban all these chemical compounds irrespective of their origin. We want analysis. We want well being monitoring. We want Pruitt to launch the water contamination research and set nationwide requirements for these chemical compounds in our ingesting water. We want motion now.
Fran Silva-Blayney is a neighborhood activist and chair of the Fountain Creek Water Sentinels and presently lives in Colorado Springs.