ADEQ Announces $25 Million Investment to Improve PFAS Treatment at Tucson Water Treatment Plant
PHOENIX (Dec. 23, 2022) — Arizona Department of Environmental Quality today announced $25 million in funding to help Tucson Water improve per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment at a Tucson Water treatment plant addressing severe groundwater contamination related to a federal Superfund site.
“This funding will help Tucson Water secure Tucson’s water supply for future generations,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Every source of water in Arizona is critical as we face drought conditions and the risk of a drier future.”
This significant investment provides the necessary additional treatment improvements to adapt the Tucson Airport Remediation Project (TARP) treatment approach to incorporate a proven unit process specifically targeted to PFAS removal and safely continue treating contaminated groundwater in the area.
Tucson Water has operated TARP since 1994 to successfully treat and contain a plume of contaminated groundwater near Tucson International Airport, removing industrial chemicals TCE and 1,4-Dioxane and delivering the cleaned water into the drinking water system. Arizona’s investment will help the City of Tucson meet the plant’s original mission of containing the decades-old plume of groundwater contaminated with TCE and 1,4-Dioxane.
“I am so grateful that the State was able to prioritize this critical project to avoid failure of a Superfund remedy in an environmental justice area of Tucson,” said ADEQ Director Misael Cabrera.
“I am grateful for this collaboration with Director Cabrera and ADEQ to continue protecting our water security,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “We are all too aware of the painful history of water contamination in our region, especially those impacting disadvantaged communities. There is much work to do to clean up PFAS throughout the Tucson region, and this is an important step forward.”
Governor Ducey’s $25 million allocation of federal funds will be used to build additional treatment processes for the removal of PFAS from the recovered impacted groundwater from the TARP wellfields.
“The investment in the new treatment process will allow the original TARP remedy to continue on without the threat of having to turn off the plant because of the inability to treat for PFAS contamination,” said Tucson Water Director John Kmiec.
ADEQ and Tucson Water are working on an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate the use of the funding.
To date, Tucson Water has spent over $30 million to address PFAS locally, continuing to test all drinking water sources for the compounds across its 390 square mile service area, turning off contaminated wells and drilling new ones in clean areas, and removing PFAS at TARP.