State health department provides additional resources to local communities to test water

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Credit: CDPHE

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DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is providing additional resources  to local communities to test for pervasive chemicals in water that can cause harmful health impacts if consumed.

The department says the pervasive chemicals originate from toxic firefighting foam and other sources.

The pervasive chemicals are known scientifically as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The department has secured $500,000 in supplemental funding, and public water system operators can apply for funding through Jan. 29, 2020.

Currently, the department says they are not aware of any public water systems with pervasive chemicals above the federal health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

The department also says that in the past, public water system providers who found the chemicals worked quickly with state and local assistance to reduce or eliminate the chemical.

“We want public water system providers and communities to know that we are here for them. This free testing will provide communities with more information about the water upon which they rely,” said John Putnam, environmental programs director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “If we find the chemical anywhere, we’ll be there to provide technical assistance to lower the levels as quickly as possible.”

According to the department, public water system providers can collect samples independently or reach out to the department for help. Results will be made available to the public.

If testing shows high levels of the pervasive chemicals, the department says they will work with the water system to notify the public and identify options to reduce exposure.

This sampling project is a critical component of a comprehensive state action plan they are implementing to first locate, then mitigate these chemicals, according to the department.

In the absence of a federal standard,  the department says it is also undergoing a public process to develop policy guidance for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to implement the state’s narrative standards for groundwater and surface water.

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