Characterization of the Fate and Biotransformation of Fluorochemicals in AFFF-Contaminated Groundwater at Fire/Crash Testing Military Sites

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SERDP 2017 Project-of-the-year Award for Environmental Restoration

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are common contaminants at sites where aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) was used. Currently, the understanding of the composition of individual PFASs and their precursors in AFFF formulations and their impact on priority pollutant biotransformation is limited.

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Professor Jennifer Field from Oregon State University and her team led a project that aimed to fully delineate the PFASs that persist in AFFF-contaminated groundwater, sediment, and soil and evaluate their impact on priority pollutant biotransformation. The study developed analytical tools and provided analytical advances for a more complete characterization of AFFF-contaminated media. Over the course of the project, over 50 classes of PFASs, comprised of several individual homologs were identified.

A complete characterization of AFFF-impacted sites leads to a better understanding of the effectiveness of treatment technologies. Biotransformation pathways of these compounds also provide a framework for understanding the fate of the precursors and insight into the conditions that leads to high concentrations of persistent fluorotelomer sulfonates.

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For this significant work, Dr. Field and her team received the 2017 SERDP Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration for their project titled Characterization of the Fate and Biotransformation of Fluorochemicals in AFFF-Contaminated Groundwater at Fire/Crash Testing Military Sites.

Project Team

  • Professor Jennifer A. Field - Oregon State University
  • Professor Lisa Alvarez-Cohen - University of California at Berkeley
  • Professor Markus Kleber - Oregon State University
  • Professor David Sedlak - University of California at Berkeley
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Photo by Trish Gottesman

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