Air Force Will Pay to Decontaminate Widefield Aquifer of Chemicals

People pack the hallway and floors of a theater Thursday, July 7, 2016, during a community meeting at Mesa Ridge High School to discuss the toxic chemicals in the Widefield aquifer called PFCs.

Christian Murdock/The Gazette

People pack the hallway and floors of a theater Thursday, July 7, 2016, during a community meeting at Mesa Ridge High School to discuss the toxic chemicals in the Widefield aquifer called PFCs.

The U.S. Air Force will pay $4.3 million to begin treating water in Security, Widefield and Fountain after the revelation that toxic chemicals contaminating groundwater for those communities possibly came from Peterson Air Force Base, according to The Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs.

The chemicals, called perfluorinated compounds, “possibly” came from a foam rich in those chemicals  that Peterson used for decades to put out aircraft fires, said Steve Brady, a spokesman for the base’s 21st Space Wing.

Base officials decided to expedite in-depth testing to pinpoint the source of the contaminants after a preliminary report in June suggested the installation as a possible source, according to The Gazette. In the meantime, the Air Force will pay to install filters cleansing well water of the contaminants.

The perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, were also used in a variety of products for decades, including food wrappers and carpet and clothing protectants, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, more than 500 residents from across Security, Widefield and Fountain gathered at a town hall meeting on July 7 to hear more than a dozen federal, state, local and military officials hold a town hall about the work being done to clean the water in the Widefield aquifer.

An emerging body of science points to several possible health effects from the chemicals, including low birth weight. Kidney and testicular cancers also may be caused by the chemicals, though researchers have not found a definite cause-and-effect relationship, according to Gazette reporter Jakob Rodgers.

As the public hearing wore on, Rodgers wrote one question rose above the rest: Why must residents have to incur more costs for bottled water and home filters because of a problem that wasn’t their fault?

 

 

 

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