Colorado to restrict Suncor’s discharge of dangerous “forever chemicals” into Sand Creek

State’s overdue renewal of water-pollution permit requires refinery to send public alerts after spills
Suncor Refinery in Commerce City, CO
Posted at 7:56 PM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 21:57:47-05

Colorado issued a new, long-overdue water-pollution permit to Suncor Energy on Wednesday that restricts the amount of “forever chemicals” and other harmful pollutants the company’s Commerce City refinery can discharge into Sand Creek, an important source of water for drinking and agricultural irrigation in the state.

Officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment touted the new permit as more stringent than previous water-pollution permits that have regulated the oil refinery.

It’s the first time the refinery’s permit will limit the amount of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — also known as PFAS, or “forever chemicals” — that are discharged into Sand Creek. The permit also will add first-time limitations on salt, arsenic and a group of compounds known as BTEX that are dumped into the water.

State officials said the permit’s conditions were crafted after countless meetings with environmental advocates and people who live near the refinery.

“It’s more restrictive than the previous permit in a couple of ways,” said Trisha Oeth, the state health department’s director of environmental health and protection. “One, it will limit the amount of pollutants that Suncor can discharge into Sand Creek and other downstream waters. There’s also a component in there to prevent future spills and seeps, so there’s a really robust inspection and maintenance requirement.”

Read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.

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