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Gardner and Bennet introduce bill to designate PFAS as hazardous materials

Sen. Michael Bennet (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (right)

WASHINGTON – Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner introduced a bill Friday that would allow areas impacted by PFAS contamination to be eligible for Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund cleanup funds.

If signed into law, it would designate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances. The bill also calls for the EPA to provide the funds within one year of enactment. The senators are joined by 12 other co-sponsors from other Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.

The bill’s introduction comes on the heels of the EPA’s announcement of an action plan to manage the release of cancer-causing chemicals in Fountain last month. That plan called for the need to prevent future contamination and continued the call to designate them as “hazardous substances.”

In a statement from Sen. Michael Bennet he said the action plan didn’t  “identify the available statutory mechanism it would use, nor how long the designation process would take to complete.”

As we’ve reported, the use of firefighting foam at nearby Peterson Air Force Base is believed to be the cause of groundwater contamination in the Fountain and Security-Widefield area.

CU researchers determined that people living near Peterson Air Force Base have some of the highest levels of contamination compared to other locations in the U.S. affected by groundwater contamination. The study found the level of PFC contamination in blood was 10 times higher than the national average of those near Department of Defense sites that had free blood testing.

Last June, Fountain Utilities began using a new water treatment facility designed to filter the manmade chemicals out of the groundwater. Fountain Utilities said water was safe to use after the installation of the filtration system.

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley is a digital content producer at KOAA News 5. He has worked in southern Colorado since 2016.
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