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PFOS/PFOA chemical filtration system completed near Luke AFB

Residents can soon use tap water again
Winter Weather Texas
Posted at 8:46 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 11:56:47-04

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — Residents near Luke Air Force Base will soon be able to consume water from their taps after the discovery of contaminants earlier this year.

Luke Air Force Base officials said Wednesday the ion exchange system designed to filter Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) has been completed.

Residents in the area were given bottled water supplies to avoid the dangerous chemicals.

“Over the next several weeks, Luke AFB and AFCEC will work diligently to notify all VUWCO customers that they can return to consuming the water provided by their taps,” LAFB said in a news release. “Residents currently receiving bottled water will receive information on the process for concluding their bottled water delivery service and returning water coolers, where provided. Residents can continue water delivery at their own cost, if they choose to do so.”

PFOS and PFOA were discovered in February in the Valley Utilities Water Company wells near LAFB in the West Valley.

For more than 30 years the firefighting team at Luke AFB used the chemicals PFOA and PFOS as part of its fire suppression efforts. The base changed over to more environmentally friendly chemicals in 2017.

Air Force officials first became aware that the chemicals were showing up outside of Luke AFB when private water wells south of the base were tested in 2018. Those wells contained levels that exceeded 70 parts per trillion, which is what the EPA considers dangerous. The Air Force says it removed the contaminants from the wells in 2019.

RELATED: West Valley water company first learned of Luke AFB contamination in 2016

Residents in the area were given bottled water supplies to avoid the dangerous chemicals.

“Over the next several weeks, Luke AFB and AFCEC will work diligently to notify all VUWCO customers that they can return to consuming the water provided by their taps,” LAFB said in a news release. “Residents currently receiving bottled water will receive information on the process for concluding their bottled water delivery service and returning water coolers, where provided. Residents can continue water delivery at their own cost, if they choose to do so.”

In April, Governor Doug Ducey called on the Department of Defense to address the Pentagon-related groundwater contamination impacting military facilities in Arizona.