Goals set for future energy plan; public survey now open

Published: 10/17/2019  10:20 AM
​Work on our Electric and Natural Gas Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) continues as planning goals were established thanks to public input. The Electric and Natural Gas IRPs will consider many views of the future to help determine how we will best ...



Make the most of your fallen leaves

Published: 10/10/2019  8:23 AM
Every year, I look forward to when the trees in my yard turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. But I know what’s next--a thick layer of leaves on my lawn that must be dealt with. Not exactly my idea of a fun autumn afternoon. Luckily, a ...



It's Public Natural Gas Week - A reminder of how both employees and customers help keep our natural gas system safe

Published: 10/8/2019  4:53 PM
​This year, October 6-12 is Public Natural Gas Week, a time when communities such as ours give recognition to one of their most valuable community assets—their publicly owned natural gas utility. At Colorado Springs Utilities, our natural gas emplo ...



Customer Service Week - The Magic of Serving You

Published: 10/8/2019  4:22 PM
​October 7-11 is Customer Service Week, an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed Customer Service Week a nationally r ...



10 fall tips to use energy and water wisely

Published: 10/2/2019  3:41 PM
​October is Energy Action Month, a time to encourage the community to contribute to sustainability efforts by learning more about energy efficiency and practicing smarter energy use. As the cooler months approach, consider our low-cost or no-cost ti ...



​Public Power: Rich history and bright future

Published: 10/1/2019  4:24 PM
Our early citizens understood the value of public power ownership, voting in 1924 to create their own municipal utility. Today, public power is as relevant and valuable as it was nearly 100 years ago. Colorado Springs Utilities is one of nearly 2,0 ...



Colorado Springs Utilities' Office of Economic Development wins ​Downtown Partnership Star Award

Published: 9/30/2019  11:20 AM
The Downtown Partnership, a nonprofit organization, with a robust membership base of businesses, nonprofits and individuals representing the diversity of industries Downtown and citywide, honored three outstanding contributors to the economic, civic ...



More public electric vehicle chargers thanks to grant

Published: 9/24/2019  8:16 AM
We recently installed four Level II electric vehicle chargers at four of our facilities thanks to funding from a Charge Ahead Colorado grant. The chargers expands the community’s electric vehicle charging network for our customers and employees. Th ...



Construction of two new solar projects progresses

Published: 9/24/2019  8:14 AM
​By the end of this year, we will add enough solar energy to our system to power 35,000 homes annually thanks to two projects currently under construction. The Palmer Solar Project, located southeast of Colorado Springs, and the Grazing Yak Solar P ...



Four fall tips to brighten your landscape

Published: 9/9/2019  9:34 AM
​After Labor Day, many landscapes may look dull, especially if most of the flowering plants bloom in early summer. Fortunately, September is a wonderful month to add a few more plants to your landscape. The soil is warm and the air temperatures have ...



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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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