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Groundwater and PFAS


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NGWA presents PFAS update to Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments

Sep 19, 2019, 09:52 AM by Pat Levak
NGWA is currently tracking PFAS sites and advocating for solutions to address the issue.
 

Alex Beaty, regional public policy manager for NGWA, presented an update on the national status of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on September 18 to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments’ Groundwater Committee.

PFAS refers to man-made chemicals that are used in various products ranging from water and stain-resistant chemicals to firefighting foam. Millions of Americans are exposed to PFAS in drinking water and several types of PFAS chemicals have been linked to negative health effects, including liver damage, kidney damage, thyroid problems, and certain types of cancer.

In his presentation, Beaty outlined the status of PFAS-related regulations and NGWA’s progress in tracking PFAS sites and advocating for solutions to address the issue.

“As experts in PFAS research, NGWA feels it’s our duty to inform the public on the status of PFAS contamination,” Beaty said. “In the next couple of years, PFAS may become a household name and it’s important the public is able to separate fact from fiction and hyperbole.”

NGWA is the industry leader on PFAS research and was first to publish a guidance document on PFAS compounds, Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice. The document details how the potentially hazardous compounds interact in groundwater and soil.

Beaty outlined other efforts NGWA is doing, or has done, to address PFAS contamination:

  • Supporting efforts to promote regulatory certainty through a maximum containment level (MCL)
  • Working with Congress to develop and support legislation to provide resources to investigate and support communities affected by PFAS contamination
  • Worked with Congress to help establish and grow the Congressional PFAS Task Force
  • Volunteers collaborated in several efforts to submit comments to federal agencies addressing PFAS contamination, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS groundwater clean-up guidelines
  • Created a PFAS resource center on its website that includes an FAQs piece, top 10 facts piece, and a PFAS checklist for homeowners, among other resources
  • Publishing peer-reviewed scientific literature on the subject in Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation®
  • Updating WellOwner.org, which offers resources for private homeowners to “Test, Treat, and Tend” to their water well system.

Forty-one states, including Ohio, have detected PFAS compounds in their drinking water and an estimated 15 million people live in regions that exceed the EPA’s health advisory level. It was reported in 2018 the city of Dayton had “alarming” levels of PFAS in its water system.

Due to its increased detection and effects, state and federal government agencies are focusing more on PFAS. 3M Co., Chemours Co., and DuPont de Nemours Inc. testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on the Environment on PFAS for the first time on September 10 regarding their knowledge of the potentially hazardous health impacts of PFAS.

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). Created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over 12 months, it 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 event

PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge
December 5, 2019

NGWA PFAS expert

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientist and Engineers Section of 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 PFAS have emerged as environmental concerns, Kellogg 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 coauthoring NGWA’s Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice (NGWA Press 2017). In May 2018, Kellogg was recommended by members of the NGWA Board of Directors to represent the Association at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Leadership Summit on PFAS. 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 also served as a program adviser and facilitator for NGWA’s PFAS in Groundwater Workshop that was held in August 2018.