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Base reports unplanned discharge

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- An unplanned water discharge from a Peterson fire training area was discovered Oct. 12.

About 150,000 gallons of water being held in a fire training area retention tank was discharged into the Colorado Springs Utilities sewer system sometime in the last week. The tank held water that contained an elevated level of perfluorinated compounds, a residual component of aqueous film forming foam, a firefighting foam historically used at the base for emergency response.

Air Force officials reported the discharge to Colorado Springs Utilities within 24 hours after discovery, and an official report was made within a five-day window, as requested by CSU.

Authorities at Peterson discovered the discharge during a routine tank inspection Oct. 12. The tank is part of a system used to recirculate water to the fire training area.

“We take this type of event seriously, and will work diligently to determine the cause,” said Lt. Col. Chad Gemeinhardt, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “We are committed to upholding environmental stewardship policies and procedures.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing to determine how the discharge occurred and a review is underway to determine if there are gaps in procedures or training.

“Peterson Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force are committed to protecting the environment and communities in which we call home,” said Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander. “We take all environmental concerns seriously, and have opened an investigation to determine the cause of the discharge and to prevent it from happening again.”

When PFCs were discovered earlier this year in well water south of the base, the Air Force proactively provided $4.3 million to filter and provide drinking water to affected residents while an investigation of potential source areas is conducted. Officials are confident these ongoing mitigation strategies are sufficient to address any potential contamination from the discharge.
 

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For information contact 21st Space Wing public affairs office at 556-5185.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui