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Air Force takes blame for water contamination, leaves ratepayers with the cost

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FILE PHOTO
  • File photo

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released results of a contracted site inspection of Peterson Air Force Base, confirming the long-held suspicion that on-base activities are to blame for the high levels of PFCs — a class of man-made chemicals linked to health issues — in the Widefield Aquifer, which provides drinking water to more than 80,000 people in southern El Paso County.

Investigators detected the chemicals in nearly every water and soil sample, concluding there's "a potential human exposure pathway" from the base to nearby residents. Peterson's statement on the findings includes emphasis that there could be other contributors to the contamination, though none have been publicly identified, and another study, this one on plume movement, is coming next.

Most of the $4.3 million that the Air Force pledged as aid has yet to come through, leaving ratepayers on the hook for water districts' costly efforts to deal with the toxic water.

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