PRESS RELEASE | Governor Ducey Calls On Department Of Defense To Promptly Address Groundwater Contamination In Arizona

April 28, 2021

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey is calling on the U.S. Department of Defense to take prompt action to address Pentagon-related groundwater contamination near Arizona’s military installations.

In an April 27 letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Governor Ducey requested DOD to identify and treat water in Arizona contaminated in the areas surrounding four DOD installations and to prevent additional human exposure to PFAS from other DOD facilities in Arizona.

The four installations with known PFAS impacts to groundwater—Luke Air Force Base, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Morris Air National Guard Base and the former Williams Air Force Base—are located in the two most populous metropolitan areas in Arizona, and each is surrounded by businesses and residential communities where thousands of Arizonans live, work and rely on clean groundwater for drinking.

The water is contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

"Ensuring that all Arizonans have the cleanest possible drinking water from public water systems today and for our future is critical for our health and well-being and a top priority of our state,” said Governor Ducey. “The situation in Arizona deserves attention. Arizona, through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, is acting to contain the spread of PFAS now, and I ask you to make a similar commitment on behalf of DOD for prompt remedial actions to address the DOD-related PFAS contamination of groundwater throughout Arizona and protect the health and safety of Arizonans.”

  • The drinking water supply for 4,000 people within the Valley Utilities Water Company service area near Luke Air Force Base in Glendale has been impacted by PFAS and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has identified 10 additional public water systems serving groundwater to 45,000 people within a 4-mile radius of Luke Air Force Base that are at risk | View details >
  • In Tucson, the City has had to shut-off 18 production wells impacted by PFAS. ADEQ is currently conducting an accelerated investigation and designing an early response action north of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to protect Tucson Water’s central wellfield, which serves as a primary drinking water source for Tucson | View Details >
  • Areas surrounding former Williams Air Force Base and other installations across the state are either still being assessed or need to be assessed for PFAS impacts. What is known related to Williams Air Force Base is that approximately 12 percent of Mesa’s water supply is sourced from groundwater in the area.

To prevent additional human exposure to PFAS, Governor Ducey requested the following of DOD:

  1. Share PFAS data related to Arizona installations to help determine the extent of PFAS impacts.
  2. Develop a preliminary conceptual site model for each DOD facility based on available groundwater, geological and facility data.
  3. Estimate a preliminary time range for when DOD-related PFAS plumes may reach public drinking water systems.
  4. Conduct accelerated remedial investigations with the primary purpose of designing early response actions to stop the PFAS plumes.
  5. Design and install early response actions to protect public drinking water systems at risk from DOD-related PFAS.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals with fire-retardant properties that have been manufactured and used by a variety of industries since 1940. PFAS can migrate into soil, water and air during manufacture and use of products containing PFAS and do not break down, so they remain in the environment and can impact groundwater and drinking water sources. Because of their widespread use and persistence, PFAS can build up in people and animals with repeated exposure over time. Most industries have been phasing out the use of PFAS since the early 2000s. There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking PFAS exposure to adverse health effects. A significant PFAS human exposure pathway is drinking municipal or well water with PFAS levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifetime Health Advisory Level.

View Governor Ducey’s Letter to the Secretary of Defense HERE >

To learn more about PFAS, please visit PFAS Resources >