Colorado Surface and Groundwater Sampling for PFAS

PFAS testing

Colorado Surface and Groundwater Sampling for PFAS

Analyzing PFAS Levels in the Centennial State

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a priority emerging chemical for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which in October 2021 laid out a strategic roadmap with a whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS. In addition to federal initiatives, Colorado has been proactive in understanding PFAS impacts across the state. We’re assisting the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment in this effort, providing expertise and resources to conduct statewide PFAS sampling, analysis and community outreach. 

As a part of its 2019 Action Plan, Colorado launched a grant program providing funding opportunities for PFAS sampling in groundwater, wastewater, surface water, drinking water and water treatment infrastructure, as well as emergency assistance for affected communities and water systems. We initially focused on developing standard procedures, sampling and analysis plans, community guides, and inquiry forms for self-sampling or contractor-provided sampling services. 

During these efforts, the EPA changed its health advisories for the lifetime risk of PFAS in drinking water, lowering health advisories for four PFAS chemicals. Based on the changes, our team is providing sampling support to grant participants and the state’s priority sampling of private and public drinking water systems and at-risk private well users. 

We’re partnering with the CDPHE to work with universities and colleges throughout Colorado and spread awareness about the Action Plan. As part of the outreach and collaboration, we will employ, train and oversee interns from local universities while they obtain real-world experience sampling water throughout their local areas.

Refining Locations of PFAS Sites 

The CDPHE is creating a heat map further defining PFAS areas of interest. As we receive results and conduct additional tests, we’ll apply what we learn to refine these areas and create a clearer picture of contamination levels. The heat map will be used to target additional sampling sites. 

Our strategic communications team in collaboration with CDPHE will use the map to conduct public outreach about PFAS levels, risks and preventative measures, including notifications for at-risk populations and steps to avoid exposure. Our goal will be to reach a wide audience in affected areas, ranging from local governments to individual private well owners. 

The completed map and analytical database will serve as a crucial tool for Colorado state agencies as they move into the next phase of PFAS mitigation and remediation, exposure limitation and contamination prevention.

PFAS testing
Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment

United States