Tucson International Airport Area

Tucson International Airport Area

Superfund Site | Tucson International Airport Area

EPA #: AZD980737530

Superfund National Priority List (NPL) Status: The EPA listed this site on Sept. 9, 1983


The Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site (TIAA) is a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) site in Tucson, Arizona. The site is on the National Priorities List (NPL), which is periodically updated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The TIAA Superfund site contains seven project areas including: Air Force Plant 44 (AFP-44), Tucson Airport Remediation Project (TARP), the Airport Property, the 162nd Fighter Wing Arizona Air National Guard (AANG) facility, Texas Instruments, Inc. (formerly Burr-Brown Corporation), the former West-Cap property, and West Plume B. The site is located in the southern portion of Tucson, south of Ajo Way, north of Hughes Access Road, west of Alvernon Way, and east of Interstate 19. The Tucson International Airport is located within the site. 

Contaminants of Concern

The current contaminants of concern in groundwater include trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE), chloroform and chromium. Polychlorinated biphenyls and metals contamination have also been found in some soils at the site.  During spring and summer 2002, 1,4-dioxane was discovered at the AFP-44, TARP and the Airport Property project areas. Two fluorinated “forever chemicals”, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), have been detected at concentrations above the EPA interim health advisor levels (HALs). Contaminants of concern may change as new data become available. 

Public Health Impact

The City of Tucson is the main municipal water provider at this site. All municipal wells in the area that were contaminated with VOCs have been shut down. The municipal water supply in the area now comes from wells outside the site. Some privately owned domestic wells in the area have been impacted, but have either been shut down or converted to irrigation wells. If you are drinking water from a private well within the boundaries of the site, please contact the ADEQ Project Manager.

In February 2015, Pima County DEQ sampled private wells within the TIAA site. Four of these wells were impacted by low levels of 1,4-dioxane. From October-December 2019, ADEQ sampled private wells within the TIAA site for PFAS; three private drinking water wells were impacted with PFAS above the EPA HAL. ADEQ, Tucson Water, and the Air National Guard are working together to ensure that these wells are no longer used for drinking water.

Areas with soil contamination at or very close to the surface have been excavated so that currently there are no known public health impacts resulting from contaminated soils.

Site Hydrogeology

The TIAA site is located within the Tucson Basin, a northwest trending alluvial valley covering an area of about 750 square miles in the Santa Cruz River drainage basin of southeastern Arizona. Site hydrogeology is complex and is detailed within reports and studies available at the TIAA Superfund site information repository.

The Tucson Basin is a broad, down-faulted, sediment-filled depression bounded by mountain ranges composed of crystalline rock. Thousands of feet of alluvial sediment, weathered and eroded from the surrounding mountains, were deposited in the Tucson Basin. Major west-northwest trending drainages intersecting the site include Airport Wash and Hughes Wash, both of which are tributaries of the ephemeral Santa Cruz River.