Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

By Liz Rosenbaum
Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition 

EPA finally regulating, enforcing PFAS limits in water

 

Last updated 10/20/2021 at 9:18am | View PDF

On Monday, Oct. 18, the White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is moving beyond "advisory" levels of PFAS in drinking water to a robust enforceable limitation of PFAS in our drinking water systems. Since the summer of 2016 we (Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition) have been pushing for enforceable limits instead of an advisory, which didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of safe drinking water. An advisory was the first step in alerting the public to test for PFAS, but it was not a requirement and neither was filtering it.

We are fortunate here in the Fountain Valley areas that our four municipal water systems all immediately start filtering or switched to another source. Security Water is still using Colorado Springs water until the new plant on Bradley is operational.

The Defense Department is investigating all 700+ installations, and they are required to have a plan in place by 2023 in dealing with the results of filtering where PFAS chemicals are detected.

You can read more about this announcement from the Washington Post here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/10/18/epa-regulate-forever-chemicals-pfas/

And for a local update on our community health study, it is almost ready for a Grand Opening! Last Wednesday I was Patient One, and on Friday my husband was Patient Two. Being the first two people into the study was a way for the office staff and healthcare staff to work through any processing hiccups, and to work out their nervousness. They all realize the big undertaking they are doing on our behalf, and they are ready to be of service to our community so we can have a better understanding of how decades of contamination has affected us.

Participants need to have lived here before 2016, because from 2016 to today the municipal water sources have been at a non-detect for PFAS. The study can take 1,000 adults, ages 18 and up, and 300 children, ages 4-18. This will be rolling out soon!

I am also working with the ATSDR in setting up community outreach, so our meeting is inclusive and productive to our needs. This meeting is vastly different than the big one we sat through in 2016. This one will be like our monthly coalition meetings, everyone will have a voice, feel empowered, listened to, and able to participate!

This map shows the distribution of hospitals in El Paso County, with none but Fort Carson's Army hospital in the Fountain area.

Also, last week I sent off my tap water for a second PFAS test. Rural people do not have access to non-detect PFAS in our drinking water. And it took all this time for me to find a study to participate in. And I was right. My rural water system is contaminated, and I am so thankful I never drank the water where I have been living for three years. Once there is a more definitive report, I will be able to put out the results.

So, this second round of testing for last week, combined with new regulations, hopefully the health of rural families will be considered just as important as town folks. Having a hospital and health specialist clinics is something we all need here, too. Northern El Paso County is building a sixth hospital, and we have nothing here. We still have a long road ahead of us, but the things we have been fighting for have come to fruition, so I will tell all of you, I am so proud at what we have accomplished here together.

For additional updates: FVCWC http://www.facebook.com/fvcwc and

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