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PRESS RELEASE | ADEQ Partners with the Town of Payson to Tackle Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Local Drinking Water Systems


ADEQ Partners with the Town of Payson to Tackle Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Local Drinking Water Systems

PHOENIX (March 13, 2024) – In response to concerns about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in two public drinking water systems serving the Payson community, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is collaborating with the Town of Payson on actions and solutions that will ensure community members in the area receive healthy drinking water. 

This collaboration is made possible by funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority received the state’s portion of the federal Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant and passed the $42 million to ADEQ to provide direct assistance to small or disadvantaged communities in Arizona. This assistance will result in local infrastructure for drinking water systems, such as a treatment facility or connection to a clean drinking water source, to address emerging contaminants. Projects whose primary purpose is to address the challenges of PFAS in drinking water will be the focus of these funds.

“The Town of Payson and Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park are among the first public water systems in the state to benefit from this important funding,” said ADEQ Cabinet Executive Officer Karen Peters. “ADEQ is providing engineering and technical expertise and financial resources to address PFAS found in the Town’s drinking water and then connect a neighboring small public water system to Payson’s water system.”

To assist Payson, ADEQ is contracting with a local engineering firm to develop a compliance options report to identify viable alternatives for mitigating PFAS in the Town’s drinking water system. The report will support the Town's decision-making processes and help determine the most appropriate and cost-effective solution. Additionally, the contractor will design a service connection for Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park to the Town of Payson’s drinking water system to provide clean drinking water to the mobile home park. Future phases of these projects will include the construction of related infrastructure.

“The Town of Payson and ADEQ have successfully maintained a longstanding cooperative relationship in operating the groundwater remediation system for the Payson PCE Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund site since 1998,” said Town of Payson Water Department Director Tanner Henry. “In concert with this partnership, we are excited that ADEQ has once again stepped up to the plate to help us with our PFAS issues. We are certainly blessed to have this opportunity to expand our groundwater treatment capabilities and continue our delivery of safe drinking water to the community.” 

Background and Resources

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals with fire-retardant properties that have been used commercially in the United States to make products like stain and water-resistant carpet and textiles, food packaging, firefighting foam, as well as in other industrial processes. Some PFAS can accumulate in people, animals, and the environment over time. While consumer products and food are the largest source of exposure to these chemicals for most people, drinking water can be an additional source of exposure in communities where these chemicals are in water supplies. A lifetime of exposure to certain PFAS levels in drinking water is associated with negative health effects.

In anticipation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalizing its National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for certain PFAS compounds, which will apply to approximately 950 Arizona systems, both ADEQ and public water systems have been conducting PFAS testing to identify the extent of PFAS in Arizona drinking water. While data for large systems is still being collected under EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) testing program, estimates from ADEQ’s ongoing sampling, which is 90 percent complete, indicate that 70 or more small water systems (serving 3,300 or fewer customers) could require PFAS mitigation when EPA’s regulation goes into effect. 

To provide support to small water systems and disadvantaged communities that will need assistance to address PFAS, ADEQ developed and is implementing a statewide drinking water PFAS mitigation plan. ADEQ’s plan leverages both $42 million in federal BIL funding and an additional $5 million in state funding and includes:

  • Testing for public drinking water systems – Confirming PFAS contamination and testing for other contaminants that can interfere with PFAS treatment.
  • Hydrogeologic evaluations – We are assessing several PFAS-impacted areas of the state where the hydrogeology is less studied. These evaluations will help drinking water providers make decisions such as removing wells from service, relocating wells, blending water, and connecting with another system.
  • Treatment and infrastructure improvements – Providing funding for the design and construction of PFAS mitigation strategies, such as connecting to a clean water source, deepening existing wells or drilling new wells, or PFAS treatment. 
  • PFAS education for drinking water professionals – Hosting a forum to discuss industry perspectives on PFAS solutions, developing technical guidance documents for engineers designing PFAS treatment systems and conducting ongoing training webinars.

To learn more about ADEQ’s proactive approach to PFAS and view Arizona drinking water data for PFAS | Learn More > 


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