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Groundwater and PFAS


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Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds hearing to assess EPA’s responses to PFAS

Oct 20, 2021, 14:04 PM by Pat Levak

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on October 20 to assess the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing and proposed responses to the presence of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in our environment, particularly the nation’s waters.

Radhika Fox, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Water, was the primary witness at the hearing. Fox updated the committee on the EPA’s recently announced PFAS Strategic Roadmap and the importance of increased infrastructure spending to remediate PFAS in the country’s drinking water supply. Throughout the hearing, Fox advocated for the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was passed by the Senate earlier this year.

“Investment in infrastructure is crucial to providing communities the resources and technologies they need to combat the PFAS contamination,” Fox said.

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly (D) spoke on the increased need for funding PFAS remediation in Arizona after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation decreased their allotment of water from Lake Mead earlier this year. Kelly noted that many communities will now be turning to groundwater as a drinking water source, but PFAS plumes continue to contaminant many of the aquifers in the state. Kelly argued without increased funding for the remediation of Arizona’s groundwater, they could experience increased exposure to PFAS in the state’s groundwater supply.

Click here to watch the hearing.

NGWA has long been an industry leader in providing PFAS research, education, and resources to the public and scientific communities. In 2017, NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which was one of the first PFAS guidance documents to be released. It can be found at NGWA.org/PFAS, which is a complete resource center about the groundwater contaminants featuring a FAQs document, a top-10 facts sheet, a homeowner checklist, and more.

wp-pfas-fate-and-transport-2021PFAS Fate and Transport 2021 white paper

NGWA recently published the white paper, PFAS Fate and Transport 2021, that updates section four of the NGWA guidance document, Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which was published in 2017.

Since the release of that guidance document, many studies have investigated PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) transformation, partitioning, and transport; for example, the influence of PFAS accumulation at media interfaces, such as the air-water-solid interfaces in the vadose zone.

This white paper picks up where that section of the guidance document left off by providing important updates.

pfas-contractorsPFAS risk communication

As a groundwater professional, you may need to inform a customer of the potential for 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-well-ownersPFAS and private wells

NGWA 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.

d1114NGWA guidance document

NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, a guidance document on 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.