USGS Study Shows PFASs Remain in Groundwater for Decades

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A new study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) explores the persistence and transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in groundwater.  These compounds originated from both firefighting foams and domestic and industrial wastewater sources. PFASs gained prominence in drinking water as a number of contamination sites were identified in recent Unregulated Contaminant Rule (UCMR) monitoring.  To show the persistence of these chemicals, contamination continues at fire training areas and wastewater facilities that ceased operation over 20 years ago.

The sources that were studied included a fire training area where foams were used to extinguish fuel fires and infiltration beds where secondarily treated domestic wastewater was applied. A total of 148 groundwater samples and 4 sediment cores were collected from multiple locations along a 1,200-meter-long transect oriented in the direction of the groundwater flow at the study site. Samples were analyzed for a mixture of PFASs by using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.  This research provides techniques to characterize the fate and transport of the PFASs in plumes emanating from two different types of sources that are widely distributed on the landscape.  Understanding the fate and transport of PFASs in groundwater allows water resource and public health managers to identify the risk and minimize exposures of populations to toxic contaminants.

Get more information at: https://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/2017-04-12-pfas_in_groundwater.html