Extensive groundwater contamination resulting from industrial activities led to the listing of the Tucson International Airport Area (TIAA) as a Superfund Site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in 1983. Early investigations revealed elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including the chlorinated solvents trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, in wells in the area. Several responsible parties were identified, and cleanup activities were initiated in the late 1980s using technology designed for removal of VOCs. In 2002, the compound 1,4-dioxane was discovered in wells in the TIAA area. Since then, 1,4-dioxane has been detected throughout the TIAA area at levels exceeding the USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory value of 3 micrograms per liter (ug/L; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2006). Chemical properties of 1,4-dioxane make it relatively unaffected by the treatment technologies employed in the TIAA area. In 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Arizona Water Science Center, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, began an investigation into the extent of groundwater contamination by 1,4-dioxane in the area. Five rounds of groundwater sampling in the TIAA area have been completed by the USGS since that time, yielding a total of 210 samples. Results from these analyses indicate less than reportable concentrations of 1,4-dioxane in 30 percent of the samples, with 46 percent of the samples having concentrations at or above the USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory level.
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USGS Numbered Series
Results of the Analyses for 1,4-Dioxane of Groundwater Samples Collected in the Tucson Airport Remediation Project Area, South-Central Arizona, 2006-2009