The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced Tucson Water’s investment of $30 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to protect Tucson area residents from PFAS in their drinking water. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox and EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman joined state and local officials to highlight how Tucson is leveraging President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to better protect drinking water from forever chemicals and emerging contaminants.
“No person in this country should wonder whether their drinking water is safe from PFAS – also known as forever chemicals. Today, we celebrate Tucson Water for taking action to invest in its drinking water treatment to protect its customers from PFAS,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This investment demonstrates the kind of protections and infrastructure that EPA is supporting, both through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and through our proposed standard to regulate several PFAS in drinking water and better protect communities across the nation.”
With this funding, Tucson Water will build a second drinking water treatment facility for residents of Tucson, Marana, and other communities in the region, that will bring PFAS levels lower than the proposed standard for PFAS. This will allow Tucson Water to maintain its commitment to providing safe, reliable drinking water to its customers in an area where groundwater has been impacted by the presence of emerging contaminants. The project will also increase the resiliency of the water system, which is currently relying on a single pipeline, reducing the need to pump water from a great distance.
“ADEQ welcomes the historic investments being made in Tucson to help ensure clean, reliable drinking water for future generations. These investments are helping Tucson and other Arizona communities on the frontlines safeguard our vital drinking water resources from per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Cabinet Executive Officer Karen Peters.
"Tucson’s water project will remediate dangerous emerging chemicals from the water supply in one of Arizona’s largest cities. The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority’s ability to use Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to provide more than $30 million in subsidized assistance for this project will help keep water resources affordable for Tucson’s families,” said Water Infrastructure Finance Authority Board of Directors Treasurer, Susan Montgomery. “This only scratches the surface of the good work that WIFA's State Revolving Funds make possible not just in Southern Arizona, but across the entire state. WIFA is proud to work with EPA to facilitate critical water projects at affordable rates.”
"I am happy to welcome EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox to the Sonoran Desert and share the work that we are doing together in Tucson to ensure a safe and secure water future," said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. "I want to thank the Biden Administration for giving cities like Tucson the resources that we need through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to protect our drinking water from PFAS and other forever chemicals while securing the future of Lake Mead. Tucsonans' water conservation ethic is known around the country.”
"In Tucson we have enough water to thrive but not enough to waste,” said Tucson Water Director John Kmiec. “That's why investments in water quality protection projects like these are so important for the future of our community.”
"I am grateful for EPA and the federal government recognizing the importance of protecting our water against PFAS by investing in a new treatment facility," said Yolanda Herrera, Co-Chair of the Unified Community Advisory Board monitoring the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site. "Tucson Water is taking a proactive approach to secure and deliver safe drinking water to the Tucson and surrounding communities, now and for future generations.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an unprecedented investment that includes $10 billion in funding dedicated to address emerging contaminants, like PFAS. As EPA deploys these resources with its state and local partners, the Agency recognizes this opportunity to build for the future.