Help plan the energy future at public workshop

Published: 1/24/2020  9:00 AM
Now that the Energy Vision for Colorado Springs has been set, citizens are invited to help make it a reality through our Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs). The Electric and Natural Gas IRPs will consider many views of the future to help determine h ...



​Resolve to save in 2020 and beyond

Published: 1/15/2020  7:00 AM
It’s a new decade and a new year, and that means new resolutions. This year, consider a home energy and water efficiency resolution. Whether you are a homeowner or renter, there are a number of strategies you can adopt to lower your utilities bill ...



​Engaging youth in the future of energy

Published: 1/14/2020  1:23 PM
As a municipal utility, community input – from all ages – is key to the success of our energy planning. After all, our Energy Vision concludes with the statement “to enhance our quality of life for generations to come.” Today’s youth are our future ...



Resolve to be environmentally friendly in 2020

Published: 1/10/2020  2:23 PM
​While January is the time for many to reflect on the past year and set goals for the months ahead, consider some eco-friendly resolutions this year. These practices promote sustainability and reduce overall environmental impact. In some cases, thes ...



Saving enough water for 5,000 Olympic Pools

Published: 12/19/2019  3:25 PM
​City Council voted this afternoon to implement new Water-Wise Rules in Colorado Springs starting in 2020.  These rules are intended to encourage the wise use of water on an everyday basis, not just during times of drought or periods of water shorta ...



Exploring ways to save customers money while benefiting the environment

Published: 12/17/2019  4:47 PM
Along with Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric and Platte River Power Authority, we announced earlier this week plans to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM), operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), to save ...



Public invited to open house regarding North Union Boulevard

Published: 12/13/2019  12:17 PM
​Utility and resurfacing work scheduled to begin January 2020 We need to replace an aging water line under Union Boulevard to enhance reliability of the water system and prepare for the City’s 2C curb/gutter replacement and road paving. An open h ...



Happy Holi-Ways-to-Pay

Published: 12/10/2019  11:23 AM
In the midst of shopping, traveling, choir concerts and planning holiday parties, the last thing you need to worry about is finding your Utilities bill and remembering to pay it. We realize your life is hectic, that’s why we offer eBilling and other ...



​New solar array now powering Colorado Springs

Published: 12/6/2019  4:37 PM
Get a bird's eye view of our latest renewable energy project, the Grazing Yak Solar Project. Consisting of more than 119,000 panels on 278 acres near Calhan, Colo., Grazing Yak will provide 35 megawatts of electricity to our customers. That is enoug ...



Would you drink the fat?

Published: 11/25/2019  11:00 AM
What’s your favorite part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal? The turkey? The stuffing? The pecan pie? (My problem is I love it all.) What’s the worst part of the Thanksgiving meal? Cleaning up! After spending half the day preparing and then an ...



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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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