pfas-banner
 

Groundwater and PFAS


pfas-corner

EPA awards nearly $500,000 to student teams for environmental technologies, including two for PFAS removal

May 8, 2023, 07:02 AM by User Not Found

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on May 1 $500,000 in research funding to five student teams to further develop their innovative ideas to solve environmental challenges, including two awards to treat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These awards are part of the EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Program.

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, aims to reduce contaminants and provide safe drinking water by developing an innovative microwave-assisted membrane filtration system to enhance the removal of PFAS.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, aims to provide clean water and improved water treatment technologies by producing a sorbent-enhanced sand capping technology for PFAS-contaminated sediments to reduce mobilization and bioaccumulation of PFAS in sediments.

Click here to learn more about the P3 Phase II winners.

NGWA has long been an industry leader in providing PFAS research, education, and resources to the public and scientific communities. Learn more by visiting NGWA.org/PFAS, which is a complete resource center about the groundwater contaminants featuring a recently updated top-10 facts sheet, a position paper, and more.

Also found there is Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which NGWA published in 2017 and is one of the first PFAS guidance documents to be released. The Association hosted its second conference last year in Westerville, Ohio, focused entirely on PFAS science and remediation.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a category of human-made chemicals that have been widely used in a variety of products and industries, such as firefighting foams, protective coatings, and surfactant applications among many other uses and products. This website section provides information on PFAS particularly oriented toward private wells and the water well industry to help you understand the sources and occurrence of PFAS in groundwater. If you are concerned about the possibility of PFAS in your drinking water and are served by a private well, both NGWA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend testing your drinking water as well as reaching out to your local health department for information.

As an authority on groundwater in the United States, NGWA is a leader in the science of PFAS affecting this important natural resource. Directed by a standing task group dedicated to advancing the knowledge of this emerging topic, NGWA’s PFAS initiatives include hosting PFAS conferences focused on groundwater and publishing multiple products (technical guidance documents, white papers, fact sheets, position papers) related to PFAS, groundwater, and the water well industry.

The last several years have seen a flurry of wide-ranging legislation concerning PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from Capitol Hill and state legislatures. NGWA has been a key resource on not only providing the sound science to inform policymakers about these “forever chemicals,” but also providing solutions that our members’ expertise can provide to ensure our groundwater resources are safe and reliable. While we agree states have a right to manage and regulate PFAS based on their unique circumstances, we also feel the federal government must provide clearer and scientifically researched guidance on PFAS treatment and disposal. 

NGWA continues to advocate for:

  • Supporting a bipartisan solution that creates a maximum contaminant level — or MCL — for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) based on the best available science
  • Dedicating financial and technical resources to private well owners for testing and remediating PFAS
  • Properly funding PFAS programs and solutions to ensure our groundwater is safe and reliable
  • Advanced guidance from the EPA on the treatment and disposal of PFAS.

PFAS: Top 10 Facts

Find out important facts on this class of manmade chemicals used in firefighting, stain resistance, water repellants, and other industrial applications since the 1940s in this document created by experts. Download the PDF.

pp-pfas-the-truth-about-private-water-wellsPFAS: The Truth About Water Wells position paper

NGWA published this position paper in 2022 that provides facts about PFAS and how water wells can still provide safe water because effective residential-scale PFAS treatment technologies are commercially available. It is ideal for sharing with local, state, and federal officials. Download the position paper.

Practical Guide for PFAS Sampling white paper

The NGWA white paper, Practical Guide for PFAS Sampling, provides a practical guide to PFAS sample collection for those familiar with industry-standard environmental field sampling practices.

Groundwater professionals may be called on to sample for PFAS analysis and to interpret PFAS laboratory data. The presence of PFAS in many products, potentially including products commonly used in environmental field sampling efforts, should be considered when planning a PFAS sampling program, and this document provides a guide for such programs.

PFAS Fate and Transport 2021 white paper

NGWA’s white paper, PFAS Fate and Transport 2021, 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:

  • William M. Alley, Ph.D., NGWA
  • Melissa Harclerode, Ph.D., ENV, SP, CDM Smith
  • Shalene Thomas, VP, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solution
  • Andy Horn, PG, Westwater Hydrology LLCUntitled design (15)
  • Dave Schulenberg, QAS, NGWA.

PFAS 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.

NGWA 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.

Water and soil guidelines and regulations

Click here to be redirected to a website where the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) maintains fact sheets on PFAS along with Excel® spreadsheets that contain PFAS water and soil regulatory and guidance values by state and federal agencies.

PFAS — Educating the Contractor and Customer (video)

Click here to access and watch the video.

NGWA PFAS experts

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.

William M. AlleyWilliam M. Alley, Ph.D., is the NGWA director of science and technology. Previously, he served as chief, Office of Groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey for almost two decades. Alley has published more 100 scientific publications and coauthored with his wife, Rosemarie, High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater. Among other awards, Alley received the USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award. He holds a B.S. in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, an M.S. in hydrogeology from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University.