2018 Pikes Peak Children's Water Festival attracts 800 students

Published: 5/25/2018  10:18 AM
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a kid at heart. I love eating pizza for breakfast, riding on the biggest roller coasters at amusement parks and am OBSESSED with the Incredibles (I can't wait for Incredibles 2 to come out in a couple of weeks!). Last ...



​System improvements at Kelker Substation

Published: 5/24/2018  4:17 PM
  Moving an object that weighs 355,000 pounds is no small feat. In April we transported a new autotransformer to the Kelker Substation for installation. After completely installed, it will weigh more than half a million pounds. This enormous p ...



Tops in power reliability

Published: 5/23/2018  1:46 PM
​Safely delivering reliable power to our community is something in which we take great pride. Usually we're working behind the scenes to help you do all the great things you do. But, today, we're stepping out of the shadows to take a moment to cele ...



Drinking Water Week unlike any other week

Published: 5/8/2018  3:16 PM
​There are celebration weeks for just about everything these days. I understand if you’re suffering from celebration week fatigue, but don’t be so quick to discard the importance of #DrinkingWaterWeek, which kicked off on Sunday. Without safe and re ...



Working toward a cleaner energy future

Published: 5/3/2018  9:37 AM
To meet the renewable energy goals in our Energy Vision and respond to customers’ expectations of a cleaner energy future, we released our latest solicitation for more renewable energy projects. On April 26, we issued a request for proposals for up ...



Colorado Springs Utilities receives 2017 Discover Goodwill Award

Published: 5/2/2018  9:18 AM
​On Thursday, April 26, Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte and Facilities Contract Administrator Paul Brown accepted The 2017 Discover Goodwill Award at Goodwill's annual awards dinner. Each year Discover Goodwill honors outstanding busines ...



Public hearing regarding Drake Power Plant permit

Published: 5/1/2018  3:07 PM
​On May 7, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), a division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), will conduct a public hearing on the renewal of our Title V Operating Permit for the Martin Drake Power Pl ...



Kicking off the 2018 paving season

Published: 5/1/2018  11:35 AM
Today we joined with the City of Colorado Springs to kick of the 2018 paving season! While this may not seem very exciting to you, it signifies the progress the city is making in completing 2C projects and the collaboration between Colorado Springs ...



From snow to sprinklers

Published: 4/26/2018  1:10 PM
Knock on wood, I think spring is finally loosening its grip and yielding to the inevitable change to summer. We can only hope anyway! However, as the temperatures increase so do water bills. It’s not uncommon for summer water bills to be about twic ...



Achieving a Smart City vision

Published: 4/24/2018  9:25 AM
For the past six months Colorado Springs Utilities, City of Colorado Springs and Panasonic City NOW have worked together to develop a Smart City vision for our community, known as SmartCOS. This effort was launched by Mayor Suthers with support fro ...



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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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