Owners of private wells could soon be in line for federal funding to test and clean up PFAS contamination in drinking water based on an amendment backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. 

The amendment was attached to a drinking water infrastructure approved this month by the U.S. Senate. The provision also includes funds to replace lead service lines, drinking water and clean water state revolving funds and a pilot program for the Environmental Protection Agency for low-income water assistance. 

Rural and disadvantage communities would also benefit.

“New Yorkers should be able to trust their water is safe, but unfortunately the water supplies of far too many communities across the state and country are contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals,” Gillibrand said.“I was proud to work alongside Senator Shaheen to ensure everyone—regardless of where they live — is able to access the critical resources needed to get these toxins out of their water. This bipartisan amendment will expand eligibility for Americans who have private wells and make it more affordable to upgrade their water infrastructure.”

The amendment was approved amid a series of high-profile water contamination cases in upstate New York over the last decade. PFAS is a chemical found in firefighting foam, and exposure to it could potentially risk cancer and other health effects. 

The money for water testing would also test for contaminants like heavy metals, carcinogens like lead, arsenic and radon. The provision is meant to expand eligibility for the program while also prove states with flexibility to take on remediation projects for communities facing drinking water contamination, Gillibrand's office said.