Woodmen Valley Fire Protection District

1150 West Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

719-522-9666 voicemail/fax    www.wvfpd.org website

 

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WELL AND AQUIFER CORRUPTION IN THE WVFPD NEIGHBORHOODS


 

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) recently disclosed that fire fighting chemicals may have leached into the water table and aquifers feeding homes in the Woodmen Valley, Pine Creek and Thunderbird Estates neighborhoods.  The latest updates on this issue appear below.

--- New ---

  • Good News!  The USAFA tested 43 wells across our neighborhoods and 40 of the did not show any contamination. Three has less than 20 parts per trillion, which is much lower than the EPA limit of 70 parts per trillion.  The USAFA will continue to test, but at this point, it appears this is NOT an issue for our neighborhoods.  The press release from the Academy is available here.   You can also find other articles below.

  •  Additional PFAS information, testing and assistance is available from the Fountain Valley Water Project.  Contact them by emailing FountainValleyWaterProject@gmail.com

  • Updated Letter from Colonel Brian Hartless to the WVFPD neighborhoods dated 9/18/19 can be viewed and downloaded here.  His original 8/30/19 letter can be viewed and downloaded here

  • Additional resources from the USAFA have been added to the references section below.

Summary:

  • The USAFA confirmed that fire fighting foams and liquids containing a variety of synthetic fluorinated chemicals may have leached into the surrounding water table and aquifers. 

  • The chemicals are in a class called PFAS and are commonly used for nonstick cookware, food packaging, waterproof clothing, lubricants, paints and more. PFOA, PFOS and PFBS compounds are most common in the firefighting foams.

  • The affect of PFAS on the human body are not known and the are no published Federally-established maximum contaminant levels for them, but the United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued drinking water health advisories for PFOS and PFOA. 

  • Because they are used in so many products, we all have some level of these chemicals in our bodies, but those who have consumed contaminated well water may have significantly higher levels.  

  • The USAFA has expressed commitment to resolve the issue and wants to immediately start testing wells that are actively being used for drinking water, bathing and food products as soon as September 4. Wells currently being used for drinking water will be tested first.   

  • Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) water is unaffected by this incident and is totally safe. 

  • Colorado House Representative Terri Carver repcarver20@gmail.com is leading resolution efforts and is working directly with USAFA representatives now.  Woodmen Valley resident Jeanne Marsh jmarsh@pcisys.net has agreed to be the point person for the Woodmen Valley, Pine Creek and Thunderbird Estates neighborhoods.  A Big Thanks to each of them!

  • The Woodmen Valley Fire Department never used firefighting foam when it was an active fire department, so you are not at risk from its former equipment or responses.  We don't believe Colorado Springs Fire Department has ever used these products in our neighborhoods either.

  • August 30, 2019 Letter from Colonel Hartless to WVFPD Neighborhoods is available here in .PDF form.

  • Next steps and reference materials follow. 

Next Steps:

  • At this time, it does not appear that we have an issue in the Woodmen Valley, Pine Creek Estates and Thunderbird Estates neighborhoods.  43 wells were tested.  40 did not have measureable contaminants. The remaining three had less than 20 parts per trillion (ppt) which is well below the EPA limit of 70 ppt for household drinking water.  For more information, contact USAFA Public Affairs at the phone or email below.

  • Jeanne Marsh at jmarsh@pcisys.net has graciously volunteered to be the point person for th all three neighborhoods as we sort out the damage and risks of the situation. Colorado State House Representative Terri Carver at repcarver20@gmail.com has championed our cause and handling communications with the USAFA and the health departments.  Feel free to send any questions to Jeanne. 

  • This website will be updated as we learn more.  We will also be issuing a limited number of updates via the WVFPD Email list.  If you are not currently on that list, you may sign up here: SignUp

Important Contacts:

Reference Materials:

  1. Site Assessment Report prepared for the USAF: https://tinyurl.com/y3oeoqvb 

  2. El Paso County Water Testing (you can get your water tested here, but we don't know if you will be reimbursed for the expense):  https://tinyurl.com/y57zxrxc 

  3. EPA Advisories on PFOA/PFOS Contamination (contains basic fact sheets and multiple technical articles) : https://tinyurl.com/grwoj94 

  4. Environmental Working Group (EWG) Drinking Water Report (for USAFA grounds only, does not necessarily involve our neighborhoods):  https://tinyurl.com/y2pp9bvu 

  5. New York State Q&A on PFOA (indicates that fruits and vegetables are safe):  https://tinyurl.com/y2mcff9q

  6. Air Force Civil Engineer Center PFOS/PFOA Website

    https://www.afcec.af.mil/WhatWeDo/Environment/Perfluorinated-Compounds/

    Air Force Civil Engineer Center PFOS/PFOA Frequently Asked Questions

    https://www.afcec.af.mil/What-We-Do/Environment/Perfluorinated-Compounds/FAQs (click on the Frequently Asked Question box at the top/center of page)

     

    US Air Force Academy Environmental Management Website:

    https://www.usafa.af.mil/Units/Mission-Support-Group/Civil-Engineering-Squadron/Installation-Management/Environmental-Management/   (please see PFOS/PFOA resources block in right-hand column)

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Copyright 2009-2019 Woodmen Valley Fire Protection District
Last modified: 08/26/19