Projects and programs addressing chemicals from firefighting foam and other sources

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The department is committed to protecting human health and the environment. The state is ready to respond to the EPA’s announcement of updated health advisories with continued testing for the chemicals and providing resources and technical assistance to water systems that need it.

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Current

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NEW - PFAS Grant Program

This program provides funding opportunities for sampling efforts to test groundwater and surface water, water treatment infrastructure, and emergency assistance for communities and water systems affected by these chemicals. 

Learn more
Background


In 2020, legislators created the PFAS Cash Fund through Senate Bill 20-218 to help prevent further contamination and reduce exposure from PFAS chemicals. Through this funding, CDPHE is able to administer the PFAS Grant Program. This program will be renewed every year on October 1, thru 2026.


The PFAS Grant Program has three categories:

  • Sampling.
  • Emergency assistance.
  • Infrastructure. 

Descriptions of each category are listed in the tabs below.

2022 Request for Applications (RFA) 


Eligible entities that are awarded a grant will receive the grant through a cost reimbursement process. Grantees are responsible for the purchase orders and requesting reimbursement from CDPHE. The general eligible entities for the PFAS grant program are listed below, a more detailed list can be found in the Request for Applications:

  • Governmental agencies
  • Tribes
  • Public water systems
  • Private not-for-profit public water systems
  • Counties or local health departments
  • Fire Departments
  • Not-for-profit Non-governmental organizations
  • Domestic Wastewater Treatment Works
  • Non-profit educational institutions
Contact: cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us

Grant Awards: The PFAS Grant Program awarded a total of 21 projects for the 2022 Request for Applications. Projects were awarded in the following categories: 15 sampling, 1 emergency assistance, and 5 infrastructure grants. Nearly $2 million of grant funds will be distributed to these projects throughout the grant year.

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Eligibility

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the PFAS Grant Program found in the Request for Applications (RFA). 
Eligible projects for PFAS in groundwater or surface water include:

  • Sampling
  • Assessment
  • Investigation
Timeline 

Application Opens: 
December, 2021

Application Closes: 
April 1st, 2022

Notification of Award: 
April 29th, 2022

Potential Rolling Application for Remaining Funds Opens:
May, 2022

NOTE: Projects with sampling components will be notified after application review. All other projects will be notified by the award deadline. 

 

Contact: cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us
How to apply

 

2022 Request for Applications

There are two sampling categories:

Standard sampling

Assessment/investigation of PFAS in surface and/or groundwater

Request private well or small-scale sampling                     

NOTE: Private well owners and eligible entities may fill out the request private well or small-scale sampling form above for small-scale sampling (up to five samples) before deciding to complete the entire RFA package.  

Grants will be awarded to Eligible Entities needing $10,000 or less. They must coordinate with a state-directed contractor for sample kits and analysis. The contractor can also provide sample collection support.

This approach will use:

  • Standard CDPHE developed sampling and analysis plans.
  • Standard CDPHE developed contract documents (see request for application).
  • Standardized statement of work (SOW).
  • Grant award via state-issued purchase order.

Grant funds may be used for:

  • Grant administration.
  • Outreach efforts for sampling participation.
  • Coordinating with the contractor.
  • Mapping and data analysis.
  • Project summary reporting.

Funding in this category is not used for the state-directed contractor.

All grant awards will be a cost-reimbursement-based program subject to CDPHE approval. 

ALL STANDARD SAMPLING applications must include the following in this order: 

  1. Completed Application Checklist (must be signed with a wet ink signature).
  2. Standard Sampling Grant Application.
  3. Sampling Map (example in application).
  4. W-9.
  5. Standard Sampling Statement of Work.
  6. Financial Risk Assessment Questionnaire.
  7. Reporting: not required until end of project (in CDPHE provided template).

 

Independent Environmental Studies (IES)

For sampling/ assessment/investigation of PFAS in surface and/or groundwater

Grants will be awarded to eligible entities for more than $10,000 in grant funds. They will not coordinate with a state-directed contractor for sample kits and analysis.

This approach will use:

  • An entity developed sampling and analysis plans.
  • Standard CDPHE developed contract documents (see request for application).
  • Statement of work (SOW).
  • Grant award via state-issued purchase order.

Grant funds may be used for:

  • Grant administration.
  • Project planning.
  • Conducting independent sampling.
  • Sample analysis.
  • Mapping and data analysis.
  • Project summary reporting.

All grant awards will be a cost-reimbursement-based program subject to CDPHE approval.

ALL IES applications must include the following in this order:

  1. Completed Application Checklist (must be signed with a wet ink signature).
  2. IES Grant Application.
  3. Sampling Map (example in application).
  4. W-9.
  5. IES Statement of Work.
  6. Financial Risk Assessment Questionnaire.
  7. Sampling and Analysis Plan
    to include: 
    • Who will be collecting samples.
    • Identified Analytical Laboratory for sample analysis.
    • Identified methods for analysis.
  8. Reporting: not required until end of project (in CDPHE provided template).

 

Contact: cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us

 

Eligibility

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the PFAS Grant Program found in the Request for Applications (RFA)

Eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Elevated levels of PFAS above the current EPA health advisory.
  • A release of PFAS that poses an immediate threat to public health and/or the environment.

CDPHE will work with the community and a contractor to:

  • Create an action plan.
  • Provide necessary emergency assistance.
     
Timeline 

Applications will be approved throughout the grant year.
Grants will be awarded based on:

  • Grant funding availability.
  • Project need/prioritization.
  • The threat to human health and the environment.
How to apply
2022 Request for Applications (RFA) 

Please submit a completed version of the following documents:

 

Contact: cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us
Eligibility

Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the PFAS Grant Program found in the Request for Applications (RFA). 

There are two tiers for this category.

  • Tier I: Infrastructure projects including planning, design, and construction.
  • Tier II: Upstream prevention/reduction of PFAS sources. 

Eligible entities may apply for public water systems infrastructure:

  • Planning.
  • Design.
  • Construction.
  • Repair.

The infrastructure must be for treating elevated levels of PFAS contamination. The elevated levels must have already been identified.

Timeline 

Applications will be approved throughout the grant year.
Grants will be awarded based on:

  • Grant funding availability.
  • Project need/prioritization.
  • The threat to human health and the environment.
How to apply
2022 Request for Applications (RFA) 

Please submit a completed version of the following documents:

  • Completed Application Checklist (must be signed with a wet ink signature).
  • Infrastructure Grant Application.
  • W-9.
  • Financial Risk Assessment Questionnaire.

 

Contact: cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us


The following documents are for SB20-218 grant recipients to invoice CDPHE for any completed project work through the grant program. Please email all required documents to cdphe_wqcd_pfas_grant@state.co.us

 

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Discharge Permits (CDPS Permitting)

We have started to require monitoring and limits for PFAS in discharge permits.

Learn more

In July 2020, the Water Quality Control Commission adopted the department's proposed PFAS Narrative Policy, Policy 20-1.

The PFAS Narrative Policy describes how the department will regulate these chemicals in Colorado lakes, streams, and other waters. Here is a summary. This includes monitoring for the chemicals and setting limits for discharge permits. We have begun this process and will update the list of permits and permit certifications with current and proposed PFAs monitoring and limits periodically. Guidance for permittees can be found on the PFAS Resources page.

Before proposing the policy, we hosted three stakeholder meetings to gather feedback. You can find all meeting materials in the Narrative Policy Work Group meeting materials files.

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Certificate of Registration Program

Anyone using or storing Class B firefighting foam containing PFAS must register through the Certificate of Registration Program.

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Firefighting foams fall into two main categories, Class A and Class B. Class A foams are used to fight fires caused by wood, paper, and plants. They generally do not contain PFAS chemicals. Class B foams put out fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline, oil, and jet fuel. They may contain PFAS chemicals.

Anyone using or storing Class B firefighting foam containing these chemicals must register through the Certificate of Registration Program. We developed this program with stakeholders (see materials from stakeholder meetings).  

We will share information in the coming months on a Takeback Program to purchase, collect, and provide interim storage for firefighting foams containing these chemicals until a safe disposal method is identified.

Takeback Program

This program allows us to purchase and store firefighting foam containing these chemicals until we can safely dispose of it. 

Learn more

Through the new Takeback Program, CDPHE will now pay eligible Colorado fire departments to take unspent firefighting foam containing PFAS out of service and safely store it until we know of a safe disposal method and can collect it for transport and safe disposal. 

Program eligibility and details

Payment: $40 per gallon for unspent firefighting foam containing PFAS to help support fire departments with the purchase of PFAS free replacement foam and providing safe storage for unspent foam containing PFAS. 

Eligible entities: Colorado fire departments that registered through the certificate of registration program.  

Eligible materials: Unspent firefighting foam containing PFAS. 

Proper disposal method: Applicant to follow EPA’s Interim PFAS Destruction and Disposal Guidance by providing interim storage until a safe disposal method is identified.

Timeline:
Application period: Extended to October 31, 2022

Payment distribution: Extended to November 30, 2022

How to apply
1. Fill out this sign-up form to receive an application to participate in the takeback program.
2. Once you fill out the sign-up form, a CDPHE project manager will reach out to you to begin next steps. 

This program is supported through Senate Bill 20-218, CDPHE Hazardous Substances Responses. Until EPA determines a safe disposal method, we will follow EPA’s Interim PFAS Destruction and Disposal Guidance that recommends interim storage. The Takeback Program may be expanded to include other entities and materials containing PFAS in the future.
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Upcoming

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Vulnerability Map

This project will lead to the development of a statewide map to help us determine where we should prioritize PFAS sampling and collect firefighting foam. This map will use many sources of data to determine possible water contamination and who might be at risk. It will consider potential burdens on disproportionately impacted communities.

CO SCOPE

CO SCOPE is the Colorado Study on Community Outcomes from PFAS Exposure. Communities in Southeast El Paso County, Colorado were exposed to PFAS chemicals in their drinking water as a result of firefighting foam use at Peterson Air Force Base. A team is studying how drinking water that contains these chemicals may harm health. This study is part of a nationwide, multi-site study funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

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Completed

PFAS in Fish Pilot Project

We partnered with the Colorado School of Mines and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to learn more about the levels of PFAS in fish in three Colorado waterbodies.

Learn more

The purpose of this project was to gather preliminary data to help us understand how people could be exposed to PFAS through fish and evaluate if Colorado should consider health-based PFAS fish consumption advisories.

Staff collected and analyzed 49 fish representing 10 different species across the food chain. Results showed one PFAS chemical, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), in 100% of fish tested. PFOS concentrations varied by species and waterbody. Many other PFAS chemicals were also found in fish, though at much lower levels. 

The project has a number of limitations and was too small to determine whether PFAS chemicals in the fish sampled are high enough to harm human health.

To learn more about this project, read the PFAS in Fish Pilot Project Summary Report.

Adams County Sampling Project

We partnered with the Tri-County Health Department and the EPA to identify whether there could be PFAS contamination in designated areas impacting private residential wells.

Learn more

We sampled ten private wells.
 
We tested for thirty-one different types of PFAS in each sample.
 
All of the water samples collected during this project were below detection levels for the PFAS compounds PFOA and PFOS which are included in the current EPA health advisory. Nine of the ten samples collected during this project were below detection levels for all of the PFAS compounds analyzed. One sample had measurable levels for two of the PFAS compounds.
 
The lab could measure most PFAS down to 10 parts per trillion (ppt).
 
Visit the Tri-County Health Department website to learn more about the sampling project.

Summit County Sampling Project

We partnered with the Summit County Environmental Health Department and the EPA to sample these chemicals in private wells in the Frisco area.

Learn more

We sampled 12 private wells and surface water in Miner’s Creek.

We tested for thirty-one different types of PFAS in each sample.

For all of the samples, test results for each PFAS were below the level the lab could measure.

The lab could measure most PFAS down to 20 parts per trillion (ppt).

Visit the Summit County Environmental Health Department's website to learn more about the sampling project.

 

CDC/ATSDR Exposure Assessment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ATSDR completed an exposure assessment of people living near Peterson Air Force Base in El Paso County, Colorado.

Learn more

A team tested 346 people, including 28 children. Eighteen households provided environmental samples, including tap water and dust. 

Two chemicals (PFHxS and PFOA) in blood were above national averages. Results for four other chemicals (PFOS, PFNA, MeFOSAA, PFUnA, and PFDA) were similar to or below national averages. Urine sample results showed very low concentrations of these chemicals.

 

2020 Sampling Project

We sampled 400 water systems, 15 firefighting districts, 152 groundwater sources, and 71 surface water sources. Twenty-five percent of the drinking water systems that participated in the 2020 sampling project had some level of PFOA and/or PFOS chemicals detected in their treated drinking water. For information on specific samples, please visit our dashboard

We are coordinating with these systems to retest and identify current levels through our PFAS Grant Program. We are working with water providers that proactively completed testing to verify PFAS levels above the new health advisory so that they can notify their consumers about actions they can take. All of the participating drinking water systems had GenX and PFBS levels below the EPA’s 2022 health advisory.

Learn more

We offered free testing to public drinking water systems and fire districts with wells. We took samples from:

  • Treated drinking water from public water systems.
  • Groundwater and surface water sources used for drinking water.
  • Wells serving fire districts.

Samples were then tested for these chemicals to help communities learn about potential risks. We encourage water systems to share their results with their customers.

This dashboard only reflects public water systems that signed up for the 2020 Sampling Project. Systems without test results on this dashboard may have already sampled for these chemicals or plan on doing their own sampling.

We encourage systems to contact us if they have sampled for PFAS recently or plan to sample soon. 


The results are in - press release: This press release summarizes results.

Public water systems who applied.

Test results: public water systems, fire districts, and surface waters.

2020 PFAS Sampling Project Report.

2020 Discharge Permit Survey

To better understand potential risks of these chemicals making their way into Colorado waters, we required facilities with discharge-related permits to respond to a survey in 2020. 193 facilities self-reported a known or suspected presence of these chemicals.

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We surveyed facilities permitted to release treated wastewater, water used for manufacturing, and other similar activities into local waterways. The survey asked about the use and storage of certain products containing these chemicals.

The results help us better understand the use of these chemicals and risks to state waters. We can also determine if specific permits may need PFAS monitoring.

The map shows the locations of facilities that reported on the PFAS survey that they: use or store AFFF or Class B firefighting foam or other PFAS-containing materials; are within proximity to where AFFF is likely used; and/or have potential PFAS passing through their wastewater treatment plant. 

  • The locations of the facilities are based on the latitude and longitude coordinates listed on their department permits. THIS MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL LOCATION OF THE FACILITY OR PERMIT LOCATION. For example, the municipal storm sewer permit usually covers the entire city area. The latitude and longitude may reflect the center of that area or is located near the permitted area.
  • To view more information about a particular facility, click on the marker. 

Note: ArcGIS software has a character limit on what can be displayed. Use this guide to understand what each row means when selecting a point to view more information about it. The character limit cuts off some of the words in longer responses submitted for the survey, but you can find the full response on this spreadsheet of facilities with known or suspected PFAS presence.

Link to map: http://arcg.is/HT4KH