PFAS in Commerce City

by | Jun 16, 2023 | Water information | 0 comments

The escalating environmental crisis centered on Suncor’s Commerce City refinery, which is discharging substantial amounts of the hazardous PFAS chemicals into Sand Creek and the South Platte River, unveils a scenario of concern not only for Colorado but for the entire nation.

It has come to light that the levels of PFAS discharged into these water bodies were considerably above the updated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water guidelines. The revelation came amidst the state’s struggle to finalize revisions to Suncor’s pollution permits. The absence of prior warning to the community, as well as downstream water users like Thornton, about this chemical discharge, indicates a gap in transparency and community engagement.

This issue has also reignited concerns around the extensive December fires at the Suncor refinery, with environmental watchdogs speculating that the use of firefighting foam, a known source of PFAS, could have exacerbated the pollution. Suncor’s subsequent silence on these matters has only deepened the existing apprehensions.

The city of Thornton, which depends on South Platte water for its drinking supplies, is making diligent efforts to identify and mitigate the contamination. Nonetheless, the increasing prevalence of PFAS has driven up water treatment costs, putting an additional burden on the city.

This escalating situation highlights the pressing need for robust regulatory mechanisms and improved oversight to mitigate potential environmental disasters. Scientific research has provided insights into the toxicity of PFAS, even at significantly lower levels than previously thought. Hence, there is an urgent call for frequently updating permits to align with new findings.

Broadly, the unfolding crisis underscores the enormous impact of PFAS contamination on public health and the environment. PFAS has infiltrated nearly all aspects of daily life, from our drinking water to the consumer goods we use. Colorado, along with other states, has made a legislative move to phase out PFAS chemicals from various consumer products. Despite these efforts, the challenge of managing the aftermath of long-term pollution looms large.

Major corporations like DuPont and 3M face legal challenges from state attorneys general for their role in PFAS pollution, underscoring a broader push for manufacturing accountability. Yet, the primary concern remains the extensive and expensive mitigation efforts undertaken by municipalities across Colorado to combat PFAS contamination.

Looking ahead, addressing the PFAS contamination issue requires an integrated approach. It is crucial to implement stricter regulations, maintain an ongoing dialogue, and ensure corporate accountability. As the situation in Commerce City reflects a broader national concern, the necessity for prioritizing the health of our environment and our communities cannot be overstated.

In conclusion, the scenario unfolding at Suncor’s Commerce City refinery is a stark representation of the broader challenges we face in managing industrial pollution. It calls for stringent regulations, increased corporate responsibility, legislative updates, and enhanced public awareness. As we navigate through these challenging times, our collective commitment to safeguarding public health and the environment remains the beacon guiding us forward.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *