Cost to build water treatment plants to protect against PFAS hazards will be 'substantial'

Jan 13, 2020


To get a head start on removing potentially cancer-causing PFAS compounds from Tucson’s aquifer, the city’s water utility will design a system to treat that water although it’s not yet clear how soon such a pricey treatment system will be built or where the money to build it will come from.

The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to direct Tucson Water to take steps needed “to protect public health” from contamination by PFAS, utility director Tim Thomure said. The city is also pushing for federal legislation that would provide money for Tucson and other cities to clean up such contamination and reimburse the city for $1.75 million it’s already spent toward cleaning up lesser amounts of PFAS pollution. Mayor Regina Romero wrote the state’s congressional delegation Tuesday asking them to support the bill, which cleared a House of Representatives committee Tuesday in Washington, D.C.


The direction to protect public health will mean designing treatment plants aimed at preventing heavily PFAS-tainted groundwater from reaching two key parts of the city’s aquifer. One is the city’s central well field in an area north of where Davis-Monthan Air Force Base may have discharged PFAS into some now-shuttered city wells. The other is the city’s south-side well field that supplies lesser-contaminated water to a treatment plant for cleanup.

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