YouTube link: https://youtu.be/9uBZ5Yd8G-g
The July Sustainable Tucson meeting is taking a different approach than our usual meetings. We are invited to join an information session that Councilmember Steve Kozachik is holding on PFAS pollution, a topical issue of great import to us all. The announcement that follows is from Councilmember Kozachik. Please join us on Zoom on Thursday, July 14, at 6:00 pm.
Since the 1970’s the industry has known PFAS is toxic. It’s a family of chemicals that’s used to create non-stick surfaces, water proofing on clothing, and most importantly it is used as a fire-fighting foam the military used for decades at virtually every military base in the country. It’s called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), and Davis Monthan and the training done by the Air National Guard at Tucson International used it. We know their chosen method of disposal was to hose it into the soil when training took place on runways, and to dilute it and dump it down the sewer system when the training took place in hangars.
The city regularly tests our groundwater wells for a variety of pollutants. In the case of PFAS the EPA had until last week established health advisory limits for PFAS at 70 parts per trillion. We detected contamination levels outside of DM in excess of 1,000ppt, and outside of TIA at over 10,000ppt. Tucson water has a policy by which we shut down wells when we see levels of 18ppt. So far there are over 25 Tucson Water wells shut down as a result.
I’ve been hosting informational meetings for the public to hear from DOD, the ADEQ, Tucson Water, and the city attorney’s office on updates related to the PFAS contamination we’re experiencing in Tucson. Last week the EPA lowered their health advisory level to .0004ppt for PFAS. Their own credentialed testing method will only detect down to 2ppt. The health advisory is just that – advisory. It is not a legally binding maximum contamination limit. The result is confusion within the military, environmental quality agencies, and utilities.
Join us on July 14 at 6pm by Zoom for the next presentation from representatives of DM, ADEQ, and city representatives. We’ll discuss the levels of contamination we know of in the Tucson region, and we’ll hear how the various players in this are responding to the new EPA standards.