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By Bioenviornmental Engineering Flight, 21st Medical Group
/ Published June 15, 2020
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) supplies drinking water to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Base personnel can get the facts about the water they drink from the recently released CSU - 2020 Water Quality Report. This report (reporting period 1 Jan – 31 Dec 19) informs the public about the water quality and services CSU delivers to the base every day.
CSU staff, as well as the 21st Medical Group’s Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight, test the water consumed throughout the base. Throughout the process of collection, treatment and distribution, certified water treatment plant operators and laboratory staff monitor the water quality for its chemical and biological content. Some of these analyses are required to meet state and federal standards, while others are part of ongoing testing to assure a continual supply of high quality drinking water. CSU employees test the water at treatment plants and throughout the CSU water distribution system. Bioenvironmental engineering tests water at six different sampling locations per month for microbiological contamination that could occur in the Peterson AFB section of the distribution system. The Peterson AFB sample sites include the youth activities center, child development centers and aircraft watering points. All microbiological samples collected in 2019 were analyzed using the Colilert-18 Method which simultaneously detects and confirms the presence of total coliforms and E. coli bacteria in drinking water; all samples reported safe.
With no major source of water nearby, CSU relies on a raw water collection system that delivers water to Colorado Springs from nearly 200 miles away. The headwaters, or sources, that supply these systems originate in wilderness areas near Aspen, Leadville, and Breckenridge in Colorado. Nearly 75% of our water originates from many mountain streams (surface water). Water from these streams is collected and stored in various reservoirs along the Continental Divide. The collection systems in this area consist of the Homestake, Fryingpan-Arkansas, Twin Lakes, and Blue River systems. The majority of this water is transferred to Colorado Springs through pipelines that help to protect the water from contamination, such as, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals. Water delivered to the area is stored locally at Rampart Reservoir and the Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak which then supply CSU water treatment plants.
CSU also uses local surface water sources to supplement the water received from the mountain sources. Sources include water from the north and south slopes of Pikes Peak and Catamount Reservoirs, Crystal Reservoir, and South Slope reservoirs and tributaries, North and South Cheyenne Creeks, Fountain Creek, Monument Creek/Pikeview Reservoir, Northfield Watershed/Rampart and Northfield Reservoirs, and the Pueblo Reservoir.
Additionally, CSU purchases treated surface water from the Fountain Valley Authority (FVA). FVA receives water from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project which is a system of pipes and tunnels that collects water in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area near Aspen. Waters collected from the system are diverted to the Arkansas River, near Buena Vista, and then flow approximately 150 miles downstream to Pueblo Reservoir. From there, the water travels through a pipeline to a water treatment plant before being delivered to Colorado Springs. The water source may vary during the year and may be a blend of surface water and purchased water.
To view the CSU water quality report and other related water quality links, visit https://www.csu.org/pages/water-quality-r.aspx. The report is also available on the Peterson AFB web site under 21st Space Wing public notices and is provided to all base dormitory residents, child development centers, and the base dental surgeon. Customers without web access can obtain a hard copy of the report at the bioenvironmental engineering office located in Building 1246.
For questions concerning water quality issues in the Tierra Vista Community distribution system, please call the TVC facility maintenance department at (719) 597-5950.
For more information about Peterson AFB water quality, call (719) 556-7721.
(Water quality information courtesy of Colorado Springs Utilities and Bioenvironmental Engineering)