Arizona has secured $13.5 million from the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) to address the problem of “forever chemicals,” or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Arizona drinking water.
The problem of PFAS have already caused dire problems in the desert state, such as a Tuscon water treatment plant which was shut down in 2021 after high levels of PFAS were found in their water supply. The problem is also getting worse: as drought is forcing Arizona to shift their reliance away from the Colorado River Basin (currently about 36% of the state’s water supply) to groundwater, the risk of PFAS contamination goes up, as these groundwater often containing these dangerous chemicals but a dearth of data or regulation protecting people from them.
“Exposure to PFAs may negatively affect the growth and learning of infants, increase the risk of cancer, harm the immune system, and cause other adverse health effects,” says a press release from Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema.
Arizona’s 2022 funding will also include $109 million from the EPA to address clean drinking water systems, update wastewater infrastructure, and help clean up water contaminants across the state.