Jan 08, 2020

Tucson, Arizona, to Remove PFAS from Aquifer

Tucson is designing a system to treat water to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from its aquifer.


Tucson city’s water utility will design a system to treat that water to remove PFAS from its aquifer.  

It is not yet clear how soon this costly treatment system will be built or how it will be funded, according to Arizona Daily Star

The Tucson City Council voted Jan. 7 to direct Tucson Water to take steps needed to protect public health from PFAS contamination, according to utility director Tim Thomure. The city is pushing for federal legislation, which would provide money for Tucson and other cities for contamination clean up efforts, reimbursing the city for the $1.75 million it has already spent toward cleaning up lesser amounts of PFAS pollution. 

Mayor Regina Romero wrote the state’s congressional delegation, asking them to support the bill, which cleared a House of Representatives committee in Washington, D.C., reported the Arizona Daily Star

The treatment plants would be designed to prevent PFAS-tainted groundwater from reaching two key parts of the city’s aquifer. The first is the city’s central well field in an area north of where Davis-Monthan Air Force Base allegedly discharged PFAS into now-shuttered city wells. The other is the city’s south-side well field, which supplies lesser-contaminated water to a treatment plant for cleanup.

“We recommended that we move forward on the design now so no matter if we build or somebody else builds the treatment plants, we’ll have some form of remediation in the locations,” said Thomure.

In the past two years, the city discovered PFAS contamination of three drinking wells north of Davis-Monthan at levels exceeding 3,300 parts per trillion (ppt) and in south-side wells at levels at 13,000 ppt. The 13,000 ppt contamination is the most severe PFAS pollution found in drinking water anywhere in Arizona, reported the Arizona Daily Star.

Nevertheless, the contamination has not tainted any current city drinking water supplies.

Read related content here about PFAS in drinking water: