Residents in Parachute will have private wells or the municipality delivering their water. The sources of Parachute’s municipal drinking water mostly include groundwater under direct influence of surface water from a combination of nearly 20 local springs. Contaminants that may be present in Parachute water include bacteria, inorganic salts and metals, pesticides, herbicides, radioactive compounds, and synthetic or volatile organic chemicals.
Water can absorb substances resulting from the presence of animal or human activity. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals, and in some cases, toxic or radioactive material. The Parachute areas have many potential sources of contamination:
- Bacteria, or microbial contaminants, may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, wildlife, or agricultural operations.
- Heavy metals may be naturally occurring, but may also result from urban storm water runoff, wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
- Radioactive compounds, synthetic or volatile compounds, pesticides, and herbicides are also found in water due to many of the above-mentioned practices.
Parachute’s municipal water is regulated according to state and federal standards, but because of the size of the area, they are not required to test annually. Parachute’s 2020 municipal water quality report can be read here. Even in this report, you may notice that there was a failure to monitor and/or report on turbidity. Since this water is not monitored as regularly as other water sources around the Valley, it is advised to contact Aspen WaterWise to schedule a water test. Aspen WaterWise tests for over 80 contaminants to identify exact quantities of each mineral or pollutant in your water, then creates a tailored treatment plan to provide you, your family, and your guests with the highest quality water available.
Aspen WaterWise has detected high amounts of dissolved solids in Parachute water. Total dissolved solids, or TDS, is a measure of the total concentration of particles that are so finely dissolved in water that they have become part of its chemical structure, and therefore cannot be removed with conventional filtration. Natural geology, human activities, industrial waste, and water treatment processes can all contribute to high TDS readings. The higher the reading, the more likely your water is to be problematic. TDS is a great measurement to gauge whether water is fit for human consumption or not, and in the Parachute area, our readings often indicate that water needs treatment.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of oversight and regulations for many industries in this area, such as energy facilities or water treatment plants, companies are not limited to the amount of pollution they emit. Even when attempting to acquire permits, it can take over a decade to get a hearing. Detailed information on a recent instance in Parachute area can be reviewed on this Colorado Sun article.
This lack of regulatory oversight can lead to the degradation of nearby water sources. This causes residents to worry that their water is unsafe. Two oil and gas companies spilled over one million gallons of wastewater into Garden Gulch, just north of Parachute. The wastewater froze in a waterfall over the winter, and began to melt directly into the West Parachute Creek, an irrigation source for many landowners.
Aspen WaterWise is here to answer your questions and ease your concerns. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.