Contaminated water sparks concern

Water / FOX21
FOX21 News file photo

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — According to El Paso County Public Health, the Security-Widefield area and the city of Fountain were the only areas in the state to show perfluorinated compounds in their water.

They’re man-made chemicals that can be harmful to pregnant women, breastfeeding women and bottle-fed infants.

Those chemicals are perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

The EPA lowered the health advisory levels in drinking water to 70 parts per trillion..

PFCs do not naturally occur in the environment and can be found in carpets, clothing, food wrappings and more.

According to the EPA, the advisory level was lowered due to concerns of low birth weights and a possible link to kidney and testicular cancers.

“It’s not just gotten contaminated. Apparently, it’s in the history. So, if we’ve been drinking the water all this time, we don’t know what kind of effect it may have on us. We go to the doctor for reasons. It may be a water issue,” said Suzanne Bolden, a concerned resident.

The Security Water District says notices of the contamination have been out at least three times now, starting when they first learned about the contamination in January.

Residents called the water district to voice their concerns.

“They said that there’s nothing wrong with the water. It’s safe to drink, safe to take a bath in,” said Anita Morrison, who’s been living at her home for nearly 40 years.

“They’re the water company, what else are they gonna say. They don’t want panic, they don’t want to lose their credibility, so they’re gonna tell you it’s fine,” said John James, who is concerned about his children’s health.

The water district says it depends on which zone you’re in.

Zones two and three are using all surface water right now.

Zone one uses a majority of surface water, but well water may also be used.

“We’re concerned that under the new health advisory that some customers at some times may receive some of the PFCs that exceed the health advisory,” said Roy Heald, general manager of Security Water and Sanitation Districts.

“Antibiotics, antidepressants, petroleum projects leaking from Peterson Air Force Base were contaminating the water. That scared the hell out of me,” James said.

“I guess we’re similar to Flint, Michigan now,” Bolden said.

Over the next two months, the security water district will be extending some of the main water lines of surface water from zone two into zone one.

That’s expected to be completed by late summer.

They will also be looking at treatment options and strategies, which will be implemented over the next few years.

In the meantime, they’re asking residents to follow voluntary water restrictions.

They say it will help reduce water demand which will reduce the use of well water.

But as it stands, the water district says their water still meets all federal and state regulatory standards.

This map can show you what zone you’re in along with details of the EPA’s latest health advisory.

You can check out Fountain Utilities’ Facebook page here.

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