Read the full article by Perry Wheeler (Earthjustice)
“DENVER, CO — A new study conducted by Westwater Hydrology LLC connects PFAS pollution in Sand Creek and the South Platte River, as well as river water used by Commerce City, Brighton, Thornton, Aurora, and other municipal drinking water systems, to the Suncor refinery in Denver. The study found that Suncor’s 2021 discharges from just one outfall, 020, account for 16-47% of the total PFAS loading in Sand Creek and 3-18% of the total PFAS loading in the South Platte.
Municipalities, including Commerce City, Brighton, Thornton, and Aurora, utilize water intake wells along the South Platte downstream of Suncor. Due to the hydrology of the river and the underlying aquifer, any PFAS in the river gets drawn into the drinking water system when it enters these intake wells. The South Platte is also a major source of agricultural irrigation water; Suncor’s PFAS pollution is likely taken up by crops, creating another exposure point for the humans and animals that consume them.
‘The communities surrounding the refinery have faced disproportionate health impacts and threats from Suncor for far too long,’ said Caitlin Miller, senior associate attorney with Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain office. ‘This facility continues to pollute the air that people breathe and the water that they drink with relative impunity. It is time for the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to issue the strongest possible water discharge permit that prohibits Suncor from discharging any more PFAS.’
The PFAS levels studied at Outfall 020 do not account for additional pollution from Suncor’s other outfalls, including process water and stormwater outfalls, which only add to the overall impacts to Colorado’s waterways and drinking water.”…