Saturday, May 25, 2024

Water Security: Tip of the Iceberg Nationally. Drinking water for 268,000 Coloradans exceeds new limits on “forever chemicals.”

Drinking water for 268,000 Coloradans exceeds new limits on “forever chemicals.” How will providers find millions to fix the water?

Smaller, rural water providers will pay highest costs to come into compliance with EPA’s new PFAS rules

By NOELLE PHILLIPS | | The Denver Post and ELISE SCHMELZER | | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: April 21, 2024

Utilities that provide drinking water to nearly 268,000 Coloradans will need tens of millions of dollars over the next five years to comply with new federal limits on harmful “forever chemicals,” but finding the money will be a challenge — especially for small, rural systems.
The 27 water systems identified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as exceeding the new standards range in size from Thornton, which serves about 155,000 customers, to Dawn of Hope Ranch, a religious retreat in Teller County that serves 55 people.
According to state health officials, 27 water providers in Colorado do not meet the EPA’s new limit on the amount of PFAS in their water:

·        Baxter Water and Services

·        City of Brighton

·        Cherokee Metro District

·        Conifer High School

·        Crowley County Water Association

·        Dawn of Hope Ranch

·        Deer Creek Elementary School

·        Evergreen South

·        Forest Hills Metro District Riva Chase

·        Forest Lakes Metro District

·        Garden Valley Water & Sanitation District

·        Guffey Charter School

·        Heartwood Cohousing

·        Highland Lakes Water District

·        Homestead Water Company

·        Indian Hills Water District

·        Town of Keenesburg

·        Town of Olney Springs

·        Park WC Wonderview

·        Pine Brook Hills Water District

·        Platte Canyon High School and Fitzsimmons Middle School

·        Rosewood Hills Property HOA

·        Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park

·        Snake River Water District

·        City of Thornton

·        Todd Creek Village

·        Wigwam Mutual Water Company

Some of the larger utilities on the state’s list already are planning to build multimillion-dollar filtration systems, but experts say the smaller water providers will be among the last to fall into compliance. While grant money is available, experts note it’s likely water customers will pay some of the costs via higher rates.
The federal regulations announced 10 days ago require drinking water providers to lower the concentration of forever chemicals below the new limit by 2029. The chemicals — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS — have been used for decades to make waterproof, nonstick or stain-resistant products and are linked to a wide range of health problems, including cancer and reduced fertility.
“It’s really going to be a full sprint to the finish line for these facilities to meet the compliance timeline,” said Chris Moody, regulatory technical manager for the American Water Works Association, which represents 4,300 utilities that provide drinking water in the United States. “The systems that are going to struggle the most are going to be the small systems. The larger systems are going to have more purchasing power and will be in the front of the line.”

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Rudy Arredondo
Latino Farmers & Ranchers International, Inc.

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