New effort underway to detect hazardous chemicals in Arizona drinking water
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — David and Peggy Miller are Scottsdale snowbirds who love coming to Arizona six months out of the year. What they don’t love is the water. “I have trust issues when it comes to the quality of water that comes through our tap,” said Peggy.
The Millers are like many Arizonans who question whether the water they drink is hazardous to their health, despite reassurances from cities and municipalities that there’s nothing to worry about.
In an effort to better protect the public, the Environmental Protection Agency put in place new rules this month, which now require large water systems to test for chemicals called PFAS. PFAS compounds have been known to seep into groundwater across the country. The chemicals are used to make products like carpets, textiles, firefighter foam and food packaging.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is taking it a step further, announcing a $3 million plan to proactively test an additional 1,200 Arizona water systems. “The goal is for us to get a picture of where there are areas of concern of PFAS in our state,” said Trevor Baggiore, Water Quality Division Director. “The large water systems in Tucson, Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale are all required to sample and renew EPA programs. That leaves over 1,200 systems in Arizona without any requirements, and we want to know what the picture looks like in Arizona so we can help these water systems address the contamination.”
If any PFAS contaminants are identified, ADEQ will work with the water company to find the source and address the problem. Traces of PFAS have already been identified on at least 50 Arizona water systems, according to Baggiore.
The Millers say finding the chemicals in the water is the first step. “I think communication to the people who consume the water is vital,” said David. “You have to make people aware of what’s going on and what they are consuming. You have to be proactive and transparent. Just testing is not enough.”
ADEQ has set up a map online where anyone can see the results of the water tests as they become available. For more details, click/tap here.
Copyright 2023 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.