Environment

Ski fluoro wax free campaign returns

Park City Municipal Water discovered 11 Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), commonly known as forever chemicals, in local groundwater wells. Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation has found many of the same compounds in local wastewater.

PARK CITY, Utah — PFAS are a group of more than 12,000 man-made chemicals and compounds used in all kinds of products since the 1940s. In 2023 the EPA proposed a PFAS drinking water limit, scheduled to go into effect in 2024.

None of these PFAS have been detected in Park City’s surface, spring or tunnel water. Since Park City is at the top of the watershed, it was very surprising for these chemicals to appear in the groundwater.

Study ties PFAS to fluoro ski wax

Colby, Maine had a similar issue and published a study in December 2020, in which that ski town discovered that the fluoro compounds in their groundwater came from fluoro ski wax. These fluoro ski waxes are used in Nordic and Alpine skiing but were banned in advance of the 2022 Winter Olympics. In the Park City area, these chemicals were found in snow sampled at the Wasatch Citizen Series (WCS) Farm 20k start line near St. Mary’s church, Round Valley, White Pine Nordic Center, and Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort ski lift lines.

Park City bans fluoro ski wax and institutes successful fluoro ski wax take back program

In 2023 Park City issued a Drinking Water Source Protection Ordinance that banned fluoro ski wax. Last season they partnered with Recycle Utah to institute a fluoro ski wax take back program. It was very successful with the local community. They asked shops to turn in ski wax containing fluoro wax and to no longer sell it to the public. Recycle Utah collected over 600 pounds of high fluoro wax.

Minimize fluoro wax impacts on groundwater wells

Park City Municipal’s Water Quality and Treatment Manager, Michelle De Haan said, “We are starting up the Ski fluoro-wax free campaign again. Help Park City minimize continued fluoro wax impacts on its groundwater wells. Bring any of your fluoro waxes to Recycle Utah. Recycle Utah accepts these waxes near the office door by other hard to recycle items like batteries, light bulbs and ink cartridges. Recycle Utah will have them incinerated at a hazardous waste processing facility, so they can never enter the groundwater.”

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