Poles need love too

Published: 8/17/2018  3:00 PM
​ Did you know that every year, Colorado Springs Utilities inspects and tests 4,000 electric wood poles? It takes about 8 to 12 weeks to complete the work. In fact, that’s only a fraction of the poles that serve up power to our community. There is ...



Colorado Springs Utilities moves forward with model water-sharing agreement

Published: 8/17/2018  8:31 AM
​Over the past year, the Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources team has been working behind the scenes on a history-shaping agreement within the Colorado water industry. Last month Springs Utilities and the Lower Arkansas Water Management Assoc ...



So easy a rabbit can do it

Published: 8/10/2018  2:19 PM
811 Day is tomorrow, and that means we’ve been reminding our customers to contact 811 before they dig. A large percentage of our electric, natural gas, water and wastewater mains and service lines are underground and out of sight, and very dangerous ...



Is an electric vehicle in your future?

Published: 7/31/2018  2:38 PM
​Are you one of the millions of Americans that say the next car they buy will be an electric vehicle (EV)? A survey released earlier this year by the American Automobile Association determined that the appetite for electric cars is heating up. The ...



Solutions to repower the Springs

Published: 7/26/2018  1:12 PM
​Many might not know, but when the Martin Drake Power Plant was constructed in 1925, it was on the outskirts of town. Almost a century later, the power generated at the plant, which is now located downtown, has helped grow this once small town into ...



Tips for wise watering during midsummer heat

Published: 7/24/2018  8:17 AM
With the recent hot, dry weather, many people have been watering their landscapes frequently. So how do you use the right amount of water to keep your landscape healthy without waste? Here are four ideas: Water enough, but not too much. You can tak ...



Expanding our renewable energy portfolio

Published: 7/16/2018  6:14 PM
We are excited to announce the start of two utility-scale solar projects that will significantly increase our amount of renewable energy to power the Pikes Peak Region. “We are committed to offering our customers a cleaner, more diverse and affordab ...



8 steps to consider before going solar

Published: 7/16/2018  1:19 PM
Solar energy helps protect the environment, diversifies our energy supply, creates energy independence and reduces our summer peak capacity requirements. But, it's a big investment and, for many, we can sometimes get paralysis by analysis. In other ...



Boulder Place Park rehab project = major win for the community

Published: 7/13/2018  10:30 AM
​             Before                                                                                     After A 10-month long rehab project for our Construction Maintenance Restoration group has turned into a community gem for hundreds of people. ...



Practice wise mulching for water savings

Published: 7/9/2018  8:49 AM
​One of the biggest secrets to growing a beautiful landscape is covering bare soil between plants with mulch. When you choose the right type of mulch, landscape plants stay healthier, and you can save water by reducing evaporation from the soil. So ...



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Microfibers and microplastics, from drinking water to the environment   

  by  Steve  on  10/26/2017

​The next time you’re shopping for a new winter coat, cosmetics body washes and even toothpaste, there’s something you may want to keep an eye out for – microfibers and microplastics.  

These synthetic materials are found in everything from the clothes we wear to some toothpaste to the little scrubby creams we use on our face or bodies to wash away “impurities.” Many of these creams are defined as exfoliants, which I’ve sometimes described to my wife as a fancy word for nonsense. I joke, but I know how popular these products are in my own family. 

Nationally, microfibers and microplastics have become a hot topic. Several stories have recently been published on how these synthetic materials are making their way into the environment or drinking water. Here’s one from NPR on microfibers in clothing.  

As a water and wastewater utility, we have both good news and bad news on the microfibers front. The good news is that – thanks to a legacy of wise water resource planning – we get most of our drinking water from first-use supplies, collected in high mountain reservoirs. So, we’re largely insulated from these types of compounds ever appearing in our drinking water.   

The not-so-good news is that current wastewater treatment technology cannot remove microfibers and microplastics from the treated wastewater zeroplastic.JPGthat is returned to the environment. Since these synthetic materials are in a lot of the products we buy, they’re leached from your clothes every time you wash them, or go down the drain every time you brush your teeth, or use certain face or body washes. Once released into the environment, they can pose challenges for both aquatic species and downstream water users. 

From the wastewater utility perspective, new regulations could be on the horizon that would force us to remove these compounds from treated wastewater. While those new regulations could be years down the road, such standards would likely rely on expensive, emerging technology – costs that would eventually impact our utility bills. 

So, what can you do as a consumer to help? Just raising your level of awareness can go a long way. As a start, some manufacturers of plastic-free products have begun to use the zero plastic logo featured in this blog. Still, we realize that clothing made exclusively out of organic materials can be expensive. The same is true with cosmetic products that only contain biodegradable ingredients. We don’t expect you to break your budget to help us avoid microfibers and microplastics. However, scrutinizing labels a little closer and sending an email to manufacturers and/or your elected representatives in Washington could make a difference.  

Our hope is that before costly regulatory requirements are dictated to utility providers and our customers, clothing and cosmetic manufacturers are prompted to bring more natural, cost-effective solutions to the mainstream market.  

Meanwhile, if you have the budget and like to be cutting edge, I have found online stores that sell organic underwear, diapers, dresses, yoga pants, yodel outfits, pirate shirts, dress shirts, Superman tights and fancy ruffle shirts. Well, maybe not all of those, but organic and plastic-free clothing, toothpaste and cosmetics do exist both online and in stores.

 
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