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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 (English) (Spanish). Other useful links for private well owners are provided below:

Certified Drinking Water Laboratories

NMED Drinking Water Bureau – General Guidance for Owners of Private Wells

New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking – Private Wells

US Environmental Protection Agency – Private Drinking Water Wells

PFAS Request for Information

The latest

April 10, 2024 – EPA Announces the first ever national drinking water standards for several PFAS in drinking water

June 30, 2023 – Phase 2 PFAs Investigation, Holloman AFB, DB Stephens

June 30, 2023 – Phase 2 PFAs Investigation, Cannon AFB, DB Stephens

April 17, 2023 Environment Department testing for PFAS in Private Groundwater Wells across New Mexico

March 22, 2023NMED provides guidance on EPA’s new drinking water standard for PFAS

August 18, 2022In the matter of the U.S. v. New Mexico Environment Department, Order Dismissing without Prejudice

June 30, 2022 – Phase 1 PFAs Investigation Cannon AFB, DB Stephens

June 30, 2022 – Phase 1 PFAs Investigation Holloman AFB, DB Stephens

May 19, 2022 – New Mexico assists Clovis family dairy farm with PFAS contamination

Jan. 20, 2022 – U.S. DOD response to NMED’s Nov 10, 2021 letter regarding PFAS hazardous waste clean-up

Dec. 9, 2021 – Letter to U.S. DOD Secretary Austin to implement ECOS PFAS Resolution

Nov. 10, 2021 – Letter to U.S. DOD Secretary Austin calling on DOD to end its PFAS litigation against New Mexico

Oct. 26, 2021 – EPA Responds to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Petition, Will Move to List Four PFAS Chemicals as Hazardous

Oct. 18, 2021 PFAS sampling in Curry and Roosevelt Counties

June 23, 2021 – Governor Lujan Grisham formally petitions EPA to list PFAS as hazardous waste under federal law

June 9, 2021 – Environment Department Cabinet Secretary urges federal action on PFAS during Senate committee testimony

El Secretario de Gabinete del Departamento de Medio Ambiente insta a tomar medidas federales en relación con los PFAS durante su testimonio ante el comité del Senado

June 4, 2021  Environment Department takes initial steps toward clean-up of PFAS plumes in eastern New Mexico

Feb. 21, 2021 – New Mexico petitions U.S. Court of Appeals to advance PFAS litigation against the U.S. Department of Defense

Jan. 18, 2021 – Environment Department tackles PFAS contamination while sampling for chemicals in drinking water sources across New Mexico

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