D-M water safe, according to annual water report

The 2018 Annual Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has been released. This report is intended to provide a detailed look at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base drinking water program, Public Water System ID# AZ0420549, and what the Davis-Monthan AFB drinking water team does for you every day to provide safe drinking water.

Where does my water come from?

Davis-Monthan AFB supplies drinking water to around 20,300 customers/base residents each day. This water is pulled directly from the Fort Lowell Aquifer via eight groundwater wells located throughout the base and is monitored by personnel from the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 355th Medical Group, 355th Wing.

Source water assessment and its availability

All drinking water is chlorinated for disinfection purposes. Disinfection involves the addition of chlorine to kill bacteria and microorganisms that may be in the water. On a monthly basis, the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight monitors the base drinking water to ensure chlorination and acidity levels fall within an acceptable range and bacteriological contamination is non-existent. Additional sampling is performed on a periodic basis for other contaminants to ensure our drinking water remains compliant with safety regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Based on the information currently available on the hydrogeological settings and the adjacent land uses that are in the specified proximity of the drinking water source(s) of this public water system, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has given a high risk designation for the degree to which this public water system drinking water source(s) are protected. A designation of high risk indicates there may be additional source water protection measures which can be implemented on the local level. This does not imply that the source water is contaminated nor does it mean that contamination is imminent. Rather, it simply states that land use activities or hydrogeological conditions exist that make the source water susceptible to possible future contamination. Further source water assessment documentation can be obtained by contacting ADEQ.

How can I get involved?

We would like you to understand the efforts we make to continually improve the water treatment process and protect our water resources. If you would like additional information concerning this report, or if you have any questions about our drinking water program, please feel free to contact the Davis-Monthan Drinking Water team members and we will be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight—520-228-5369

Civil Engineer Customer Service—520-228-3171

Soaring Heights—520-748-3339

Why are there contaminants in my drinking water?

As water travels across the surface of the land and seeps through the ground, it picks up naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, naturally occurring radioactive materials. Additionally, it can pick up any number of substances resulting from the presence of animals or human activity. These range from viruses or bacteria found in water treatment plants and septic systems, inorganic and organic compounds, either naturally occurring or occurring as a result of industrial operations, and chemical contaminants such as pesticides and herbicides from farms.

The EPA sets safety limits on these contaminants in public water systems in order to ensure safe drinking water is provided to the customer. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants; however, this does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline 800-426-4791.

Do I need to take special precautions?

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as individuals with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, individuals who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

Were there any monitoring failures or violations?

The Davis-Monthan AFB water system did experience one monitoring failure during 2018.

Monitoring and reporting of compliance data violations.

The Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight was unable to conduct water sampling for Nitrates at one of the five locations where this contaminant is sampled for. This occurred because the sample location was inoperable during the three month sample period. This resulted in a violation for our drinking water system. All other locations were sampled during the correct time frame and were within compliance. Nitrate sampling for the one missed location was conducted in March of 2019, the results were below the MCL established by the EPA, and the results will be reported in the 2019 CCR.

Were there any contaminants detected in my drinking water?

All sources of drinking water contain some naturally occurring contaminants. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of contaminants allowed in water provided by public water systems. At low levels, these substances are generally not harmful in our drinking water. Removing all contaminants would be extremely expensive, and in most cases, would not provide increased protection of public health. The EPA or the State requires us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently.

Is there PFOS/PFOA in my drinking water?

No, there have been no instances where the contaminants known as PFOS/PFOA (perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid respectively, both members of the perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s) family) were detected in the drinking water at Davis-Monthan AFB. Monitoring of the drinking water for these contaminants was accomplished in 2016 and the results showed no detectable levels. No tests conducted by Davis-Monthan AFB or the surrounding area that Tucson Water is responsible for have found PFCs in the ground water at the depth that Davis-Monthan AFB’s drinking water wells pull water from (660 feet or deeper). The Air Force continues to play an active role in groundwater testing and we are working closely with our partners at Tucson Water and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. An initial site survey report conducted in 2017 recommended an expanded site survey at the deeper aquifer monitoring wells located down-gradient of the Stormwater Outfall Canal, on the north side of installation property. To conduct the expanded site inspection, two wells were installed in that area this past spring. This expanded site inspection is currently ongoing. Results from the expanded site inspection will be published to the Air Force Civilian Engineer Center’s Administrative Record website http://afcec.publicadmin-record.us.af.mil/ when available.

To see the entire report, go to www.dm.af.mil.

Courtesy of 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Bioenvironmental Engineering

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