A Water Win-Win

Published: 11/15/2018  12:01 PM
​Water news from the Arkansas Valley yesterday is a win-win.  A win for famers and a win for city-dwellers. Late Wednesday, the Fort Lyon Canal Company (FLCC) Board approved to allow a Lower Arkansas Water Management Association (LAWMA) member to d ...



Creating tomorrow’s energy landscape with a new vision

Published: 11/14/2018  4:29 PM
Our world is increasingly revolving around electronics. From your Google Home to your electric vehicle and smart thermostat, the ways in which we all use energy are changing. So too are the ways in which we generate and deliver that energy to you. ...



Funding our Future | 2019 Rates & Budget Approved

Published: 11/13/2018  2:33 PM
Today Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved our 2019 Budget and 2019 customer rates. Last summer, I was priviliged to work with a team of employees to review the 2019 budget submittal and am proud to share that the 2019 budget is nearl ...



Recognized with Platinum level HIRE Vets Medallion Award

Published: 11/13/2018  2:26 PM
There has been a strong military presence in Colorado Springs for many years, and we're proud to serve those who serve our country. Doing right by our military, though, means more than simply providing safe, reliable utility service. It also means a ...



Trick or Treat for Savings

Published: 10/31/2018  8:49 AM
Trick or treating through the neighborhood, sometimes there is one special house with a candy bowl that stands out from all the others. It’s the place with full-size candy bars. Everyone wants to be at that house with the biggest candy bars, and all ...



Project COPE provides utilities payment assistance

Published: 10/30/2018  2:46 PM
Whether it’s a home-cooked meal or a warm place to lay their heads, our customers count on Project COPE to help when times get tough. Donations to Project COPE make a difference in the lives of so many families. Project COPE is the only local organ ...



Don't be haunted by phantom load

Published: 10/22/2018  10:56 AM
​There are scary things that go bump in the night and then there are scary things that make a bump in your electrical use. Phantom (or vampire) load is the energy that things like your DVD player and microwave use, even when turned off or in standby ...



Focus on Customers

Published: 10/18/2018  12:14 PM
Greetings, I’m Aram Benyamin, the new CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities. It’s an honor to lead your community utility and be a part of the exciting change and growth our community is now enjoying. Already, I’ve received many great ideas and sugges ...



​The public power advantage

Published: 10/8/2018  1:11 PM
Electricity and natural gas. Services we often take for granted. With a flip of a switch, we have light and heat. Yet, providing power is a complex business. Fortunately, there are skilled, dedicated individuals right here in Colorado Springs makin ...



Benyamin sworn in as new CEO

Published: 10/2/2018  9:37 AM
This morning at a special meeting of the Utilities Board, Aram Benyamin, P.E. was formally sworn in as the next CEO by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “I’m honored for the opportunity to lead Colorado Springs Utilities and be part of the futur ...



 Next >>

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.

 
0  Comments
 

Add a comment

Name:
URL:
Comment*: