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EPA Hears From Colorado Communities During First Day of the Colorado Springs PFAS Engagement

08/07/2018
Contact Information: 

COLORADO SPRINGS  – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted the first day of a two-day per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Community Engagement event in Colorado Springs, Colorado with more than 150 participants. The listening session portion of this community engagement event provides EPA the opportunity to hear directly from Colorado communities on how to best help address this important issue. 

“Today’s listening session will inform our path forward in addressing PFAS in communities here in Colorado Springs and across the country,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “We appreciate the input we are receiving from our state, local, and community partners and continue to work collaboratively to develop tools and resources to effectively respond to these issues.”

Most importantly, EPA heard directly from the public at the listening session. Participants, including community groups from Colorado, spoke about their experiences, concerns, and suggestions on PFAS. Using information from the National Leadership Summit, public docket, and community engagement events, EPA plans to develop a PFAS Management Plan for release later this year. 

Before the listening session, there were eight presentations from the State of Colorado, El Paso County, water utilities from Fountain, Security, Stratmoor Hills, and Widefield, and community organizations.

Tomorrow’s working session will feature a roundtable focused on identifying PFAS, communicating PFAS, and solutions to PFAS. The roundtable will feature state and county officials, Colorado water utilities, and community organizations. Day two of the event will run from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm MST. The event is open to the public and the press.

Citizens are also encouraged to submit written statements to the public docket at https://www.regulations.gov/ enter docket number: OW-2018-0270. A summary of the Colorado Springs community engagement event will be made available on the PFAS Community Engagement website following the event.

EPA has made addressing PFAS a priority, and EPA is moving expeditiously on the following actions:

  1. EPA will initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS. We will convene our federal partners and examine everything we know about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

  2. EPA is beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102.

  3. EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete this task by fall of this year.

  4. EPA is taking action in close collaboration with our federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS by this summer.

Background

PFAS is a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in everyday products since the 1940s. PFAS compounds can enter the environment, raising concerns about the potential environmental and health risks. PFAS have been detected in groundwater in some Colorado communities.

Colorado Springs, Colorado marks the third community engagement event following the event in New Hampshire in June and Pennsylvania last month. Throughout the summer, EPA will visit and similarly engage with additional communities across the country including Fayetteville, North Carolina next week. Information on these upcoming sessions will also be available on EPA website.