Dozens of citizens, government officials, and other community stakeholders on Tuesday attended what was billed as a listening session by the Environmental Protection Agency on the topic of groundwater contamination in the Fountain Valley.
Groundwater in the Fountain, Widefield, and Security area has been contaminated due to decades of seepage of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, from Peterson Air Force Base.
The chemicals have been linked to health issues including liver, kidney, and immune system ailments, as well as low birth weight in babies, thyroid problems, and even cancer.
Resident Susan Gordon, who lived and worked at Venetucci Farm for eleven years until its closure due to contamination in 2017, wants the EPA to tighten its restrictions on acceptable levels of PFAS, which is currently at 70 parts per trillion.
“You can do this by adapting an enforceable and protective maximum contaminant level of one part per trillion for all PFA chemicals,” Gordon said.
The EPA’s “Community Engagement” sessions are being held in four areas of the country affected by similar contamination, including Exeter, N.H., Horsham, Penn., and Fayetteville, N.C.
“These engagements have been very helpful to us in the EPA to understanding the impacts that are happening at a local level and helping us develop actions moving forward for EPA to take and to support states and local governments as they address PFAS,” said Jennifer McLain, EPA Deputy Director of the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water.
“They’re not speaking into a vacuum, they’re actually helping us define how we want to move forward,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Doug Benevento.