/ Modified dec 16, 2022 4:18 p.m.

ADEQ to test all small water systems for PFAS

An EPA grant will allow the state to test water from 1,200 providers.

PFAS Firefighting John Farley, director of fire test operations at the Naval Research Laboratory, tests the effectiveness of aqueous film-forming foam by spraying it on a gasoline fire. The test took place at the laboratory in Chesapeake Beach, Md. Oct. 25, 2019.
David Vergun, DOD

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has begun gathering and testing water samples from all the state's small water systems per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Providers who serve fewer than 3,300 people make up about 80 percent of the state's roughly 1,500 water systems.

Tests will be conducted at the point where water from wells comes together and enters the distribution system.

"If they have more than one well and we get a high reading, our intent is to then go back and sample their different wells to get a better picture of where the contamination or pollution may be coming from," said ADEQ Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore.

He said there's a variety of solutions for a water system that has unacceptably high levels of PFAS, and ADEQ will work with them to find the best solution.

The program is made possible by a $3 million US EPA grant. The grant program began shortly after a change to what the agency considers acceptable levels of PFAS.

"In June, the EPA changed their health advisory levels, and that prompted us to have more of an interest in sampling all of our water systems, because they lowered them significantly," Baggiore said.

The results of all tests will be made available on an interactive map on ADEQ's website, and testing is expected to conclude in September 2023.

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