Communities across the country are confronting the presence of PFAS in surface water and groundwater. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. The EPA believes that exposure to different PFAS may lead to a variety of health effects. The EPA has established health advisory levels for different PFAS in drinking water. (For additional information from the EPA concerning PFAS, go to https://www.epa.gov/pfas.)
In response to the disclosure earlier this year that Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) were found in groundwater samples collected at the Army National Guard Santa Fe Readiness Center (121 Aviation Dr. Santa Fe NM 87507), Santa Fe County (County) proactively sought to identify whether PFAS was present in groundwater in the La Cienega and La Cieneguilla areas. It is important to distinguish that the County cannot say for certain that the Readiness Center is the source of the PFAS. Such determination requires additional investigation and analysis.
The County sampled groundwater from six (6) different wells in the La Cienega and La Cieneguilla areas. Test results received this week showed the presence of PFAS in samples from five (5) of the wells. Only three of the wells had PFAS above the current EPA health advisory levels, however. Importantly, the main production well for the La Cienega Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association did NOT test positive for PFAS.
While the extent and source of the contamination is unknown, the County shares this information due to its health relevance to the community. While we don’t have all of the answers, the information on this website can assist residents in making an independent decision on what testing and/or mitigation strategies to pursue.
Santa Fe County is committed to further investigation the pollution with support from a grant award we received from the New Mexico Environment Department and plans are underway to hire a contractor for investigative work while we focus on public outreach and education.
PFAS Explained/Health Advisories
NMED Document, PFAS and Your Private Well.
EPA Document, PFAS explained.
To begin the process of sampling your private well, consider contacting Hall Environmental Analysis at 505-345-3975, as they are the most centralized laboratory in the area. A list of other laboratories can be found here.
Consider installing a point-of-use carbon filtration system in your home might be beneficial. For more information on drinking water technologies for reducing PFAS, please visit:
EPA’s interactive Drinking Water Treatability Database
Map of La Cienega and La Cieneguilla PFAS Test Wells
La Cienega and La Cieneguilla Well Sample PFAS Test Results
City and County of Santa Fe Water Utility Supply PFAS Test Results