Mar 09, 2021

Water Near Arizona Air Force Base Contaminated With PFAS

Luke Air Force Base announced that studies showed high levels of PFAS had affected drinking water for about 6,000 people in about 1,600 homes and a few neighboring businesses.

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The U.S. Air Force will be distributing bottled water to thousands of residents and business owners near its base in suburban Phoenix until at least April, according to AP News.

This is due to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from military firefighting efforts contaminating the water supply in a nearby community, reported AP News.

Luke Air Force Base announced in February that studies showed high levels of contaminants had affected drinking water for about 6,000 people in about 1,600 homes and a few neighboring businesses, according to AP News.

Deliveries of drinking water to the homes of people who picked up their first bottles this week are underway, according to Sean Clements, chief of public affairs for the 56th Fighter Wing at the base, reported AP News. The bottled water is recommended for drinking and cooking and the tap water is considered safe for bathing and laundry.

The drinking water deliveries will continue until a long-term filtration facility can be set up in April. 

The Arizona Corporation Commission is scheduling an emergency meeting with five water companies to discuss concerns about the contamination, according to Caroline Oppleman, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, reported AP News.

A statement from Luke Air Force Base last week said testing had detected levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate above the EPA’s health advisory, according to AP News. The contamination was found during tests of water from Valley Utilities Water Co. 

According to Valley Utilities Water Co., its water meets all EPA and Arizona drinking water standards and no treatment is required because PFAS are not regulated by federal or state environmental agencies. The utility is still working with the base on additional sampling and looking into water treatment options, however, reported AP News.

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