Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used for a large number of purposes since the 1950s.
PFAS have been used in food packaging, cleaning products, stain resistant carpet treatments, nonstick cookware and firefighting foam, among other products.
Due to the widespread use of PFAS and the fact that they bioaccumulate, they are found in the bodies of people and animals all over the world, as well as ground and surface water.
The health effects of these emerging contaminants are still being studied, but research indicates that some PFAS may affect reproductive health, increase the risk of some cancers, affect childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system, and interfere with the body’s hormones.
PFAS contamination in New Mexico is one of the New Mexico Environment Department’s top priorities, as is the protection of human health and the environment.
PFAS and Private Wells in New Mexico
Public water systems in New Mexico are regulated by the NMED Drinking Water Bureau. However, water quality for private wells, also known as domestic wells, is not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Therefore, private well owners are responsible for testing the quality of their drinking water and maintaining their wells.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are humanmade chemicals that have been used for many purposes since the 1950s and are associated with a variety of adverse health effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed drinking water standards for six PFAS chemicals. These standards will not apply to private wells.
Although the NMED Drinking Water Bureau does not regulate water quality for private wells, NMED previously received funding to test a limited number of private wells for PFAS with the U.S. Geological Survey. Results showed that PFAS occur in some private wells in New Mexico, but no PFAS were detected in the majority of wells that were sampled. Other organizations may have conducted or are in the process of conducting PFAS studies as well.
Private well owners who would like to collect their own water samples for PFAS testing may contact a certified drinking water laboratory. Laboratories can provide instructions for collecting water samples.
To learn more, please see the NMED Drinking Water Bureau factsheet PFAS and Your Private Well. Other useful links for private well owners are provided below:
PFAS Request for Information
- View the May 2022 Request for Information relevant to the disposal and/or destruction of PFAS (open for 60 days)
- Ver la Solicitud de Información de Mayo de 2022 relevante para la eliminación y/o destrucción de PFAS (abierta por 60 días) en español
- Download the Hazardous Waste Emergency Fund Memo to Highland Dairy
- Read the Highland Dairy removal plan associated with the Dairy’s application USDA for cow indemnity
June 30, 2023 - Phase 2 PFAs Investigation, Holloman AFB, DB Stephens
June 30, 2023 - Phase 2 PFAs Investigation, Cannon AFB, DB Stephens
March 22, 2023 - NMED provides guidance on EPA’s new drinking water standard for PFAS
June 30, 2022 - Phase 1 PFAs Investigation Cannon AFB, DB Stephens
June 30, 2022 - Phase 1 PFAs Investigation Holloman AFB, DB Stephens
Oct. 18, 2021 – PFAS sampling in Curry and Roosevelt Counties