Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

U.S. Air Force Accidentally Spills Massive Amounts of Highly Toxic Chemicals Into Colorado Sewer System

Health + Wellness
U.S. Air Force Accidentally Spills Massive Amounts of Highly Toxic Chemicals Into Colorado Sewer System

By Andrea Germanos

The U.S Air Force said Tuesday that a Colorado base had released roughly 150,000 gallons of water containing elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) into the Colorado Springs Utilities sewer system and a nearby creek.

Officials at the Peterson Air Force Base, located in Colorado Springs, said an investigation was underway into the discharge from a retention tank, which was discovered Oct. 12. during a routine inspection. The spill happened at some point last week, they said.

The Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, which discharged about 150,00 gallons of PFC-tainted into the local sewer system.Brian Bennett / Flickr

PFCs—found in firefighting foam used by the military—have been linked to adverse health effects including liver damage and development harm.

The Colorado Springs Utilities said the chemicals did not enter the drinking water system, but rather went directly to wastewater.

Utilities spokesperson Steve Berry said that no wastewater plant in the country is equipped to remove PFCs.

"We would not have been able to remove that chemical before it was discharged back into the environment from our effluent," the Denver Post quotes him as saying.

CBS News adds, "The tainted water passed through a wastewater treatment plant, but the plant isn't set up to remove PFCs, so they were still in the water when it was discharged into Fountain Creek, Berry said."

And that presents a potential problem for farmers like Jay Frost, whose land where organic crops are grown sits below the creek. His family uses the creek water for irrigation and he told local ABC affiliate KRDO that "If we were not able to sell any product from this farm, we would go broke."

"Someone will have to answer to this," he added.

The discharge of the chemical-laden water last week wouldn't be the first time Peterson Air Force Base is under scrutiny for water pollution in the state.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that "The base's use of the firefighting foam containing the chemical is a key suspect in the contamination of wells in Security, Widefield and Fountain that left thousands of residents scrambling for bottled water last summer after the chemical was found at levels that violated standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency."

Further, the Denver Post reports that the discharge "happened as the Air Force increasingly faces scrutiny as a source of groundwater contamination nationwide."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus? Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This turtle dove is part of Operation Turtle Dove; the European Commission estimates there may be fewer than 5,000 pairs left in the UK. Ian / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Naomi Larsson

For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
Swimming alongside an animatronic dolphin, a person learns about hydrodynamics. Edge Innovations

Life-sized, ultra-realistic robotic dolphins could help end animal captivity by replacing living creatures in aquariums and theme parks.

Read More Show Less
A Stop the Money Pipeline protester holds a banner outside JP Morgan headquarters in NYC on Feb. 25, 2020; JP Morgan is a top contributor to the fossil fuel industry. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch