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Groundwater and PFAS


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Congress passes aviation provision to provide alternatives to PFAS at domestic airports

Oct 4, 2018, 11:56 AM by Pat Levak
Provision removes requirement that domestic airports use firefighting foams containing PFAS.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation by a vote of 93-6 on October 3 to provide disaster relief funding and reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. Within the broad legislation is a provision removing a requirement that domestic airports use firefighting foams containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Existing law requires FAA to follow military specifications, and the Department of Defense has not yet developed a suitable alternative to foams containing PFAS.

Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Representative Dale Kildee (D-Michigan) led the effort to get the provision included after airports expressed concerns about current or future environmental hazards and the associated remediation costs. The provision does not require airports to use PFAS-free foam.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

At a recent Senate hearing on PFAS, DoD Assistant Secretary Maureen Sullivan commented that alternative firefighting foams are being researched by the military, but at present it has not found one sufficiently meeting DoD requirements. However, firefighting foams containing PFAS are no longer used for training exercises and are only used in active situations.

NGWA Guidance Document

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NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, a guidance document on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The guidance document, created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over 12 months, is a comprehensive eight-part piece exploring the potentially hazardous, and widely discussed, compounds in groundwater and soil. NGWA published the document to identify the known science and knowledge related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds. It summarizes the fate, transport, remediation, and treatment of PFAS, as well as current technologies, methods, and field procedures.

NGWA PFAS Experts

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientist and Engineers Section of National Ground Water Association (NGWA) in 2016.  She has 25 years of experience in evaluating complex contaminant hydrogeology and groundwater-surface water interactions, including large groundwater and sediment sites in New York and New Jersey.  As per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have emerged as environmental concerns, she has been working with NGWA to advance the industry’s understanding and implementation of best practices.  She has presented and published on the technical and regulatory challenges of PFAS contamination, including co-authoring NGWA’s “Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice” (NGWA 2018). In May 2018, Ms. Kellogg was recommended by members of the NGWA Board of Directors and to represent NGWA at the United State Environmental Protection Agency National Leadership Summit on PFAS.  Ms. Kellogg’s leadership on PFAS has also included several presentations educating industry professionals on the fragmented PFAS regulatory framework, PFAS characterization challenges, and the complexities of PFAS fate and transport.  She is currently serving as a program advisor and facilitator for NGWA’s PFAS in Groundwater Workshop (August 2018).


lauren-schapkerLauren Schapker, NGWA Government Affairs Director manages the Association’s government affairs program focusing on legislative and regulatory impacts around a number of key issues, including PFAS and other emerging contaminants, infrastructure, natural resources, and energy. In addition to policy, Lauren also oversees the sweeping grassroots and political engagement efforts of NGWA. Prior to joining NGWA, she served as director of government and political affairs for the Portland Cement Association, where she focused on energy and infrastructure issues.  Schapker also spent several years at Xenophon Strategies, a boutique public affairs firm, where she focused on representing local governments and municipalities with transportation and infrastructure needs.​​