When Marana residents pour themselves a cool glass of water from the faucet or take a shower, they can rest assured the town has invested the time and money into making it the highest quality water possible.
Marana has dedicated more than $16 million to keep per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS) from getting into the water – chemicals that have been “found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA reports scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS has been linked to harmful health effects in humans.
“It’s become a global environmental concern, said Jing Lou, director of Marana Water.
PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” were detected in Marana’s water in 2016.
Both Marana and Tucson sued several chemical companies in 2018 to pay for the removal of chemicals found in area water wells.
One of the companies, 3M, agreed to pay billions earlier this year. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes called to reject the offer in May, saying the amount was inadequate.
In the meantime, with unanimous support from the Town Council and the Marana community, Marana built two water treatment facilities two years ago to tackle the issue.
“The wells pumped out of the ground, and it goes through a sedimentation process to remove any large particles, and to filters to remove any fine particles,” Louis Valencia, chief water quality operator for Marana, said.
The move has proven successful so far.
“It’s operating really welll,” Lou said. “Right now, it’s producing PFAS-free effluent to our community.”
“I believe truly that we have some of the best drinking water in the state,” Valencia said.
The EPA is working to finalize proposed PFAS drinking water standards for everyone to follow.
Once those rules come out, water quality will undergo extra scrutiny, Valencia said.
“There will be monitored testing that will have to be reported to the state,” he added.
I’m very proud to be a part of this, and I’ve got a great crew; they are dedicated to the water quality for the Town of Marana.