The CAST 11 podcast network is sponsored by the Prescott Valley Outdoor Summit. Where adventure comes together.
In his monthly “Talk of the Town” newsletter, Prescott Mayor Phil Goode addressed Prescott Water Wells concerns from early July.
On July 8, the City of Prescott learned that recent test results revealed the presence of man-made chemicals called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in two of its water production wells located in the airport area.
Although PFOA and PFOS are not currently regulated by either the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), it There is research evidence to support the possibility that these compounds may be harmful to human health.
The City took immediate action to shut down both wells that afternoon. Shortly after, I met with the public works department and the city manager‘s office to assess the situation, begin planning the remediation, and test the other wells in town. Our team met with ADEQ staff and I moderated a public meeting which over 70 citizens attended in person or virtually. During our meeting, ADEQ agreed to test our other five wells. We hope to receive the results of these tests by the end of September.
The airport well tests were part of a statewide ADEQ test of more than 236 sites, mostly near airports and other areas where firefighting training has taken place. venue. Indeed, the fire-fighting foam used in plane crashes, although very effective in protecting lives and property, contains these chemicals. ADEQ informed us that 51 wells across the state had levels above the Health Advisory Level (HAL), including the two wells at the city’s airport.
It should be noted that in 2018, the same City wells were tested by ADEQ. Both wells passed, with levels well below EPA guidelines at the time. Since then, the EPA has changed the requirement to a much stricter level. I also want to emphasize that these levels are only guidelines and not regulations. The EPA is expected to issue maximum contaminant level (MCL) regulations for these chemicals in 2024, following a formal federal rulemaking process, which includes a public comment period.
It is very likely that the MCL will be much higher than the current HAL. At this time, the City is voluntarily tracking advisory levels. We will not open the two wells at the airport until we find a way to effectively remove the chemical from the water or bring it to the recommended level as recommended.
We will communicate more information as it becomes available. We will continue to work with ADEQ and engineering firms to identify and implement a program to remove chemicals from City water as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Rest assured that the quality and safety of our drinking water is of the utmost importance to me, as well as to all City management and staff. Even before this discovery, we were monitoring our wells monthly for several contaminants, including arsenic, and posting those results online. We will work to quickly and effectively remedy this situation. In the meantime, citizens can rest assured that the quality of drinking water is safe.
The City has a page dedicated to this topic, including a link to the City Hall video, past press releases, and links to resources from ADEQ, EPA, and other sources: https://www.prescott-az.gov/water-sewer/pfas-and-pfos-resource-center/.