TARP water treatment facility on Tucson’s south side shutting down out of abundance of caution

Around 60,000 Tucson Water customers will be switched to recovered water from Colorado River
Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 6:10 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tucson Water is preparing to temporarily shut down the Tucson Airport Remediation Project treatment facility impacting tens of thousands of customers.

City leaders said TARP is being closed out of an abundance of caution as levels of polyfluoroalkyl substances rise.

The PFAS are from the foam firefighters used when training for or battling fires in the aviation industry. They do not break down and may last forever. The chemicals seeped into the ground around the airport and Air National Guard, close to the water treatment plant.

“It’s only a matter of time before these very high concentrations reach that facility,” said Tucson’s Assistant City Manager Tim Thomure.

About 60,000 customers get water from TARP. Tucson Water said these residents will instead receive recovered water from the Colorado River, a source PFAS have never been detected in.

“Tucson residents can turn their tap on and trust that what’s coming out is safe,” said Steve Kozachik, the city councilman from Ward 6.

In the past contaminants, such as TCE, have affected Tucson’s water and residents on the southside.

The city said there’s no current health risk from the water at TARP but the increasing levels of PFAS are concerning if nothing is done.

“The present situation highlights the urgent need for federal support of large-scale cleanup efforts,” saidTucson Mayor Regina Romero.

The city is working to find a solution but has no timeline for when TARP will reopen.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva is continuing to call for more federal funding to go towards PFAS remediation efforts.

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