CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Environment Department and the citizens of Clovis have been notified of manmade contaminants at an entry point of the Clovis public water system. These contaminants are known as poly and per-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not established a drinking water limit for any PFAS chemical but has established a Lifetime Health Advisory for two chemicals in the same PFAS category, PFOA and PFOS as 70 parts per trillion. According to the NMED, there may be adverse health effects for those who drink water contaminated above that level over a lifetime.
EPCOR is the company that owns and operates Clovis’ public drinking water system and conducted testing for 21 PFAS chemicals in its production wells. The presence of PFAS were indicated in 10 of 82 wells and were immediately taken out of service by EPCOR.
The company reports that none of the tests noted levels of PFOA and PFOS above the advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. NMED and the New Mexico Attorney General are currently in litigation with the U.S. Department of Defense due to its failure to clean up contamination the department caused near two of its New Mexico bases.
NMED assessed penalties of $1.7 million to Cannon Air Force Base in January for failing to addresses the PFAS contaminants through its discharge permit.
“We are working diligently across state agencies and with local officials to ensure public health and drinking water resources are protected,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney in a press release. “This is our number one priority.”
According to NMED, the Department of Defense has refused to map the migration of PFAS contaminations in the groundwater under Cannon AFB. NMED is seeking $1.2 million from the legislature to map contamination and to develop an initial intervention.
Senate Bill 275 has also been introduced by Senators Pat Woods and Stuart Ingle that would appropriate $700,000 to NMED in order to conduct the testing of water walls in communities affected by the Department of Defense’s PFAS contamination in Curry County and Roosevelt County.