pfas-banner
 

Groundwater and PFAS


pfas-corner

EPA awards $3.2 million to Indiana universities to research managing PFAS in agriculture and rural communities

Aug 20, 2020, 15:55 PM by Pat Levak

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on August 20 that two Indiana universities will receive research grants to better understand the potential impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on water quality and availability in rural communities and agricultural operations across the United States.

Purdue University and Indiana University are two of three institutions nationwide to be awarded grants that build on the agency’s efforts to implement its PFAS Action Plan, which outlines steps it’s taking to address PFAS and protect public health. These research teams will look at major sources of PFAS contamination, fate, and transport in rural areas including exposure risks from private drinking water wells and improved wastewater treatment methods to remove PFAS from water and biosolids that may be used for agricultural purposes.

Purdue University will receive $1,609,344 to investigate the occurrence of PFAS and their concentrations in private drinking wells and water resource recovery facilities in rural communities in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The university will also research the relative contribution of PFAS from land-application wastewater and biosolids to rural water supplies. This work will identify landscape, hydrologic, and soil characteristics that are most appropriate for receiving biosolids or treated wastewater with minimal impact to water and crop resources.

Indiana University will receive $1,584,420 to develop a scalable platform for predicting PFAS occurrence in private wells to improve understanding of exposure risks to rural communities relying on private wells for their drinking water. The university will use an integrated modeling approach by comparing modeling predictions to private well samples collected nationwide via a citizen science campaign utilizing mail-out test kits. The research is expected to substantially improve the accuracy of risk predictions and to facilitate informed risk management decisions.

Click here to read more.

For more information about PFAS, visit the NGWA’s PFAS resource center.

PFAS risk communication

pfas-contractorsAs a groundwater professional you may need to inform a customer of the potential for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in their well water and subsequent actions to mitigate exposure. NGWA recently published “PFAS Risk Communication for Contractors,” a two-page fact sheet to aid groundwater professionals in such communications. The document features common questions that may be asked and talking points that may be of assistance.

The document was crafted by the following volunteers and NGWA staff:

  • Bill Alley, Ph.D., NGWA
  • Melissa Harclerode, Ph.D., ENV, SP, CDM Smith Inc.
  • Shalene Thomas, VP, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solution
  • Andy Horn, PG, Westwater Hydrology LLC
  • Dave Schulenberg, NGWA

PFAS and private wells

pfas-well-ownersNGWA recently published “PFAS and Private Well Owners: What You Need to Know,” a two-page fact sheet that groundwater professionals can distribute to customers and others in their community concerned about PFAS. Written in easy-to-understand language by groundwater professionals, it explains what PFAS are, how to test wells for PFAS, treatment options, and more.

The document was crafted by the following volunteers:

  • Jeff Hale, PG, Parsons Corp.
  • Karen Kinsella, Ph.D., GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.
  • Jim LoCoco, CPG, Mount Sopris Instrument Co. Inc.
  • Richard Mest, Master Water Conditioning Corp.
  • Brandon Newman, ECT2.

NGWA guidance document

d1114

NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, a guidance document on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in 2017. Created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over the course of 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 PFAS; it summarizes the fate, transport, remediation, and treatment of PFAS, as well as current technologies, methods, and field procedures.

NGWA PFAS expert

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientists and Engineers Section of NGWA in 2016, and the national board in 2019. She has more than 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.