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Wing presents water quality report

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Base employees can get the facts about the water they drink from the recently released Colorado Springs Utilities 2010 Water Quality Report (reporting period Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2010).

The report provides the public information about the quality of water and services CSU delivers to the city's population, including Peterson AFB.

According to CSU, the drinking water continually meets or surpasses state and federal standards for drinking water.

CSU, as well as the 21st Medical Group's Bioenvironmental Engineering flight, test the water consumed throughout the base. CSU tests water at its sources, and in the city distribution system.

BE tests water at 10 different sampling locations per month for microbiological contamination that could occur in the Peterson section of the distribution system. The sample sites include child development centers, youth activity center, dining facility, and several Peterson East facilities. All of the microbiological samples collected in 2010 were analyzed by the El Paso County Health Department laboratory and all reported negative for the presence of bacteria.

In September 2010 BE performed annual lead and copper sampling at both child development centers and youth center to ensure the water met all state and federal standards. All lead and copper sample results reported below the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion and 1.3 milligrams per liter, respectively.

Nearly 75 percent of the water provided by CSU 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 protect the water from contaminants, such as, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals. Water delivered to Colorado Springs is stored at Rampart Reservoir and at the Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak, which then supply the CSU water treatment plants.

Local surface water sources are from the north and south slopes of Pikes Peak, North and South Cheyenne Creeks, Fountain Creek, Monument Creek/Pikeview Reservoir, and the Northfield Watershed. Local ground water sources consist of four wells pumped from the Arapahoe aquifer, one well pumped from the Denver aquifer, and one well pumped from the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer.

CSU purchases treated surface water from the Fountain Valley Authority (PWSID # CO0121300). FVA receives water from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project 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 the Pueblo Reservoir, and then on to the water treatment plant. The source water may vary during the year and may be a blend of surface water and purchased water.

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. Others are part of ongoing testing to assure a continual supply of high quality drinking water.

As water travels over the surface of the land and through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. For more information about the contaminants, potential health effects, and drinking water programs authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or visit www.epa.gov/safewater.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general public. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA and Center for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and microbiological contaminants are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline.

To view the complete 2010 Water Quality Report, visit www.csu.org, and click on Residential/Services/Water/Water Quality Report (reporting year 2010). The report is also available on the Peterson AFB web site under 21st Space Wing news. Customers without web access can obtain a copy of the report at the Bioenvironmental Engineering office located in Building 1246 at 625 Ent Ave. The report will also be posted in all base dormitory facilities.

For questions concerning water quality issues in the Tierra Vista Community distribution system, call the TVC Facility Maintenance Department at 597-5950.

For more information about Peterson Air Force Base water quality, call Michael Puleo or Master Sgt. Teana Cavallo at 556-7721.

(Water quality information courtesy of Colorado Springs Utilities and 21st MDG Bioenvironmental Engineering.)

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