Air Force officials confirm cause of contaminated drinking water - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Air Force officials confirm cause of contaminated drinking water

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Air Force confirms toxins from firefighting chemicals used on Peterson Air Force base did contaminate the drinking water supply for folks in Fountain, Security, and Widefield and the nightmare plaguing water users who live there appears nowhere near being over.

Investigators took dozens of groundwater and soil samples last fall to see if Peterson might be the source of area water contamination. Findings show, it likely is. That comes as no relief to people who live in the area, who now face years more of testing, bottling, and filtering to ensure safe consumption of earth's greatest natural resource.

"There's something going on, and I believe it's larger than we know," said Leslie Davis who lives in Widefield. 

Dozens of affected water users milled about the gym of Janitell Junior High, looking for answers about how PFC contaminants got into their drinking water supply, and exactly how much.

"My husband and I have had some health issues, our children were born with some birth defects, animals are having issues, dying left and right," added Davis.

Earlier in the day, Air Force Brass revealed contaminants from firefighting foam used on Peterson for decades got into the water supply at several locations, mainly around the main fire training pit.

"We haven't been able to fully delineate or fully describe how those contaminants might move off the installation and potentially affect off-base drinking water sources," said Cornell Long of the Airforce Civil Engineer Center.

The result, hundreds of homes and businesses in Fountain, Security, and Widefield stuck continuing to use bottled or filtered water while investigators start round two.

"In terms of investigations, it's going to take a number of years before that's finished," added Long. 

"There's still more work to be done to understand the contamination and the magnitude of the contamination, but also to continue to pursue how we engage with the local communities within the appropriate policy and legal bounds," explained Col. Todd Moore a Commander at Peterson AirForce Base. 

Little consolation for people who live nearby, including service members who work at Peterson, and who wonder what recourse they have against their own government for spoiling their water supply.

"This is a shame. This is just a downright shame that something like this has been going on with people that we depend on for our very lives," added Davis.

"If you're on a private well in the Widefield aquifer area and you have not had your well tested, please call the health department," added Tom Gonzales with El Paso County Health. 

Last fall, the Air Force pledged $4.3 million to help communities deal with the effects of the contamination. So far, it's not clear that any of that has been received.

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