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Bioenvironmental Engineering Reports Water Quality

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Cherokee Metropolitan District supplies drinking water to Schriever Air Force Base.  Base personnel can get the facts about the water they drink from the recently released Cherokee Metropolitan District - 2015 Water Quality Report.  This report (reporting period Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2014) informs the public about the water quality and services Cherokee delivers to the base population every day. 

Cherokee Metropolitan District staff, as well as the 21st Medical Group's Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight, test the water consumed throughout the base.  Throughout the process of collection, treatment and distribution, certified water treatment plant operators and laboratory staff monitor the water quality for its chemical and biological content.  Some of these analyses are required to meet state and federal standards, while others are part of ongoing testing to assure a continual supply of high quality drinking water. 

Cherokee employees test the water at the wells, treatment plant and in the Cherokee water distribution system.  Bioenvironmental Engineering tests water at seven different sampling locations per month for microbiological contamination that could occur in the Schriever section of the distribution system.

The Schriever sample sites include the dining facility, Missile Defense Agency and the Child Development Center.  All microbiological samples collected in 2014 were analyzed by El Paso County Public Health laboratory and reported safe. 

On July 10 and 23, 2014, Bioenvironmental Engineering collected lead drinking water samples from the Schriever Child Development Center in response to a recent DOD inspection that identified a new sampling requirement from outdoor water spigots potentially used by children and staff.  The Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Contamination Control Act is the regulatory driver that is focused on limiting the levels of lead in drinking water fountains and faucets in centers designed for children.  Children under six years old are most at risk to lead exposure because of their rapid rate of growth.
Any outlet for potable water is a potential source of drinking water, however, some faucets are regularly used by staff for drinking, cooking and cleaning, while others may not.  Samples were collected in accordance with LCCA protocols by collecting 250 mL first-draw samples from outdoor spigots, yard hydrants, playground play stations and from indoor faucets and drinking water fountains not previously tested. The protocol maximizes the likelihood that the highest concentrations of lead are found because the first 250 mL are analyzed for lead after water has sat in the plumbing lines overnight, ideally for at least eight hours.

In accordance with Air Force Instruction 48-144, Drinking Water Surveillance Program, actions must be taken if any lead drinking water sample results from CDCs, youth centers or schools exceed 20 parts per billion.  All CDC lead sample results reported below 20 ppb.  The water is safe to drink and no further lead testing is required. 

In 2014, Cherokee received its water supply from three distinct sources: groundwater from deep aquifers in the Denver Basin (non-renewable water), alluvial groundwater from the Upper Black Squirrel Basin (renewable water), and occasional surface water from Colorado Springs Utilities, which is a leased supply of renewable water.  Local water sources come from 20 municipal wells spanning an area nine miles north to 10 miles south of the town of Ellicott.  The wells are drilled about 180 feet deep, into an underground source of water called the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Alluvial Aquifer.  Ellicott is situated 10 miles east of Schriever Air Force Base on Highway 94.

Cherokee Metropolitan District wants their customers to be informed about their water utility services.  To learn more, call their Distribution System Supervisor, Rick McKay, at (719) 597-5080 or attend an open Board of Directors meeting scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month located at 6250 Palmer Park Boulevard in Colorado Springs.  

To view the complete 2015 Water Quality Report, visit Consumers without web access can get a hard copy of the water quality report at the Bioenvironmental Engineering office located in Building 1246 on Peterson Air Force Base.  All SAFB personnel living in Peterson AFB dormitories can receive a hard or electronic copy of the report from their dorm manager.  For more information on SAFB water quality, call Michael Puleo at 556-7721.    

(Water quality information courtesy of Cherokee Metropolitan District and Bioenvironmental Engineering)
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