Peterson AFB to Supply $108,000 in Bottled Water to Some Residents

U.S. Air Force photo
U.S. Air Force photo

The Air Force will supply $108,000 in bottled water to residents whose drinking water has been contaminated with toxic chemicals that may have originated from Peterson Air Force Base.

Private well owners and people in several small water systems south of Colorado Springs will be eligible to receive the bottled water, said Steve Brady, a base spokesman.

Those places include the Fountain Valley Shopping Center, Security Mobile Home Park and NORAD View Mobile Home Park, according to the installation's news release.

"It's in place as an interim solution until they can figure out a long-term solution," Brady said.

The water distributions will not include people relying on larger water systems, such as the Security Water & Sanitation Districts, the Widefield Water and Sanitation District and the city of Fountain, Brady said. That is because the smaller systems "don't have any other options," he said.

Thursday's announcement is part of a $4.3 million initiative by the Air Force to address the presence of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, in drinking water across southern El Paso County.

The bulk of that money is expected to be spent on granular activated carbon filters installed on wells tapped into the contaminated Widefield aquifer, which runs along Interstate 25 from the Stratton Meadows area to Fountain and extends east to the Colorado Springs Airport.

The filters are viewed as vital to keeping contaminated water from flowing to the three larger water systems. But the filters are expected to take months to install, and no announcements have been made on how many filters water systems in Security, Widefield and Fountain will receive.

In the meantime, each water district has been working to reduce their reliance on the aquifer, often by pumping in PFC-free water from the Pueblo reservoir. That strategy has allowed Fountain to wean itself completely from the aquifer.

Security and Widefield, however, cannot meet demand without using contaminated well water -- meaning some residents, particularly those along the western portion of each community, still receive PFC-laden tap water.

One stopgap measure for Widefield involves a water distribution site for people living along the community's western edge.

The Environmental Protection Agency tightened its PFC health advisory level in May amid concerns the chemicals may cause several health ailments, including low birth weight, kidney cancer and testicular cancer.

People receiving contaminated water should consider bottled water — especially women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, state health officials say.

Show Full Article