Extensive #PFAS contamination found under Air National Guard base in Tucson — the #Arizona Daily Star

Photo credit: VisitTucson.com

From the Arizona Daily Star (Tony Davis):

Perfluorinated compounds, commonly known as PFAS, turned up in levels exceeding recommended federal standards in the aquifer underneath the Air Guard base, said the consultant’s report.

But while the contamination appears to be moving toward city drinking wells on Tucson’s south side, the pollution doesn’t pose any immediate health risk to water users, Tucson Water officials say…

That’s because PFAS pollution already detected on the south side is being routed to a treatment plant that’s cleaning it up, and because the city drinking wells nearest the Air Guard base already are shut down.

The newly discovered contamination was widespread, tainting eight monitoring wells across the base and at least one more well at the base’s northern boundary, the report found. Sampling for the report was done from January through March 2018…

The pollutant concentrations ranged from nearly 70 times the EPA’s recommended health advisory level at a well at the base’s northern boundary, to just above the EPA advisory farther south on the base, said the report.

Another monitoring well contained about 30 times the EPA health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion, the consultant’s study found…

Measurable levels of PFAS compounds turned up in soil samples collected on 14 locations on the Guard base, but exceeded recommended health limits only at one of those locations, the report said…

At the same time, Tucson Water officials note that the nearest city wells, lying 1.5 to 2.7 miles northwest of the base, are already out of service because of previously discovered contamination from PFAS, trichloroethylene and 1,4-dioxane.

Polluted water from those wells is being funneled to a south-side treatment plant known as the Tucson Airport Remediation Project.

There, it’s being treated so thoroughly that the compounds are no longer detected as the water leaves the plant to be served to people in the downtown area and just north and south of there…

The ADEQ said it doesn’t have the legal authority to require the Guard base to clean up the contamination on its site.

That’s because the EPA has no formal drinking water limit for PFAS compounds and because Arizona law doesn’t allow the state to have more stringent environmental regulations than the federal government has.

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