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Sen. Kelly introduces bill to ramp up PFAS testing in private wells

Sen. Mark Kelly is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers asking the federal government to test private wells for PFAS and other water contaminants. 

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals with a range of consumer and industrial uses. They’ve been found in groundwater in hundreds of communities around the country, including Tucson — and exposure has been linked to health issues like cancer. The EPA is soon expected to release its long-anticipated set of guidelines limiting the amount of certain types of PFAS allowed in drinking water.

The federal government has already allocated $5 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for states to use on PFAS testing. Kelly and other lawmakers say the Technical Fix for the State Response to Contaminants Program bill will allow states the flexibility to use that funding on a wider variety of projects — like testing private wells.

The legislation builds upon a 2022 request Kelly and others made after the EPA announced the first 1 billion of a total $5 billion would go toward testing for PFAS in small and disadvantaged communities. They said states and other stakeholders should be allowed to determine exactly how that funding is used. 

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.