According to a report by the Denver Post, 80,000 people south of Colorado Springs are at risk due to contaminated drinking water with chemical levels that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems dangerous.
Highly concentrated levels of Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) were discovered in the Colorado cities of Security, Widefield and Fountain.
According to data published on Wednesday by the Denver post, the water in all 32 of the Security Water and Sanitation District’s municipal wells is contaminated with PFCs at levels exceeding an EPA health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion.
At one well, PFCs have hit 1,370 ppt, federal data show — nearly 20 times higher than the limit. EPA officials recommended that pregnant women and small children should not drink local water.
“We didn’t see this coming,” Security Water and Sanitation District manager Roy Heald told the Denver Post.
PFCs, which are not regulated under Colorado state law, are considered the worst in an growing list of unregulated chemicals that federal scientists are detecting in city water supplies, including pesticides, antibiotics and anti-depressants.
“This is devastating for us … If you want bottled water, you can go buy it any day. There’s no indication, for the man on the street, that health is a concern. Now, for pregnant women and infants, yeah, it may be a concern,” Heald said.
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Colorado health officials are reportedly working with the Air Force to find out where PFCs are entering water.
However, military officials are not considering providing bottled water for residents, Peterson Air Force Base spokesman Steve Brady told the the Denver Post.
Meanwhile, in response to the findings, utility crews are desperately trying to blend well water as much as possible with cleaner water piped 45 miles from the neighboring Pueblo Reservoir.
Prolonged exposure to PFCs is linked to serious health issues including damage to fetuses during pregnancy, low birth weight, accelerated puberty and distorted bones.