Soil and Water Samples in for Testing in Contamination Investigation at Peterson AFB

Dec 23, 2016

Officials at Peterson Air Force Base say they've finished drilling wells meant to help determine whether the base is to blame for potentially toxic Perfluorinated Compounds, or PFCs, detected in drinking water in southern El Paso County. 

Aerostar, an environmental engineering firm, was hired earlier this year to install monitoring wells and collect soil and water samples from the base and neighboring Colorado Springs Airport. Samples have now been sent to a lab for testing, and a report on the results is expected next year.

In the meantime, class action lawsuits filed against manufacturers of PFC-containing firefighting foams long used at the base are currently working their way through federal court. Though the suits don't name the Air Force as a defendant, attorney Tony Tracy with Colorado Springs-based McDivitt Law says future legal action against the Air Force remains a possibility.

"The goal for us has never been to sue the government," says Tracy, "however, if we feel that we need to do that, what we're going to do is preserve that claim and make sure that we have it available to us, should we find through our investigation that they were actors and could be culpable in some instances."

In October, attorneys from McDivitt Law also called on the state to pay for blood testing for people in areas affected by PFC contamination. A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the agency has not formally responded to that request, and emphasized that they're focused on, "investigating the source and eliminating the exposure."

Editors note: This post has been edited to make clear that both soil and water samples were collected as part of the Air Force's investigation, and that they were collected from Peterson Air Force Base and the Colorado Springs Airport property.