Gunderson Steps Down

Steve Gunderson, Director of the Colorado Water Quality Control Division (WQCD), will retire after nearly a decade of service in which he helped to develop stronger regulations to protect the state’s rivers and streams. Steve has served with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment since 1989. He rose to prominence in the 1990s during his work with the state as a leader in the cleanup of the polluted nuclear weapons production site at Rocky Flats near Boulder. He began leading the WQCD in 2005. The WQCD enforces state and federal water regulations, oversees permits for 10,000 entities related to water and wastewater management, and regulates 2,000 drinking water systems in Colorado. As the state's water quality chief, he is known for his work on rulemaking related to temperatures in rivers and streams and pollutants in waterways. Gunderson sees challenges ahead for the WQCD, including addressing pollution from industry and Colorado's superfund sites, a designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of hazardous waste locations slated for cleanup. "We still have water quality challenges, and they're harder to deal with," Gunderson said. "As Colorado's population continues to grow, there will be more and more pressure. People, whether they like it or not, contribute to pollution."