Headlines July 16, 2021

Headlines July 16, 2021

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Denver Trash Collector Shortage

Denver is facing a shortage of trash collectors, leading to delays in the removal of solid waste at residential and commercial sites. It’s part of a nationwide shortage of workers in sectors requiring licensed commercial drivers.  The Denver Post reports that last month the city received more than 1,700 calls about missed garbage pickups. Here in Boulder, the same shortage of licensed commercial drivers is affecting school bus service for the upcoming academic year.

Former DaVita CEO Indicted

A federal grand jury in Denver has indicted the former CEO of DaVita, a medical services provider, on two counts of conspiracy. The charges allege former CEO Kent Thiry and DaVita colluded with other competing firms to not hire each other’s senior staff, thereby freezing top employees out of job opportunities and violating antitrust laws. In a Department of Justice press release, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said the charges “show a disturbing pattern of behavior among health care company executives to conspire to limit the opportunities of workers.” Kidney dialysis company DaVita is one of the largest employers in the Denver area. In a statement to 9News Denver, the company expressed confidence the charges would not result in a conviction.

New Analysis Show Colorado May Have PFAS Contamination Problem

On Wednesday, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, EWG, released an analysis from federal data on industries that make, use and discharge PFAS, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are considered “forever chemicals”.

PFAS chemicals are man-made, nonstick, waterproof, stain-resistant compounds used in things like carpets and firefighting foam. Health issues linked to PFAS are cancer, birth defects, weakened immunity and kidney trouble.

EWG’s analysis of the federal data, shows PFAS may be released from tens of thousands of facilities across the country like sewage treatment plants, electronic parts factories, and car washes.

PFAS chemicals are man-made, nonstick, waterproof, stain-resistant compounds used in several things, from carpets to firefighting foam.

According to a 2020 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment survey, a few of Colorado’s 501 sites shows  PFAS chemicals possibly being released at a car wash in Monument, a sewage treatment facility in Fort Collins and a chemical factory in Greeley.

The EPA is considering setting regulatory limits for the forever chemicals and Congress has proposed setting discharge limits for clean water standards, which is part of the bipartisan infrastructure investment that has passed the House.

Wildfire Smoke Advisory

An air quality advisory is in effect for the Front Range due to smoke from ongoing wildfires. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has advised residents to remain indoors if smoke becomes so thick that it affects visibility beyond 5 miles. We’ll have more on the effects of wildfire smoke on human health after the headlines. The health advisory remains in effect until mid-morning.

Boulder Creek Festival Begins

The Boulder Creek Festival is back, kicking off today in Boulder’s central park. The festival kicks off today and runs through the weekend, featuring live music and performances, children’s activities, a market and more. The annual festival is usually held in May, but was postponed this year as a public health precaution.