Filling Knowledge Gaps for Improved Understanding of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in the Subsurface
Since the 1970s, the Department of Defense (DoD) has used Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) formulations to suppress fires, which has resulted in hundreds of sites with associated per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination. SERDP and ESTCP hosted a Workshop to help provide strategic guidance for future research and demonstrations on management and remediation of AFFF-impacted sites. As a result of this Workshop, SERDP began funding a group of projects in 2018 to address identified knowledge gaps that require collection and analysis of existing data on PFASs.
Several projects are focused on developing the basis for an approach for assessing PFAS risks to threatened and endangered (T&E) species. Dr. Frank Gobas at Simon Fraser University is developing a framework for conducting risk assessments, including exposure characterization and ecological effects characterizations, of PFASs in T&E species on AFFF-impacted sites ( Project Webpage). At Geosyntec Consultants, Dr. Jason Conder is working to develop a guidance document that will provide an overview of the state-of-the-practice for ecological risk assessment and state-of-the-science approaches to quantitatively assess and manage PFAS risks at DoD AFFF sites ( Project Webpage). Dr. Jamie Suski at EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. is leading a project focused on identifying T&E species that occur on PFAS contaminated DoD sites and developing a tiered framework to assess PFAS environmental exposure and risk to these T&E species ( Project Webpage). Dr. Craig Divine from ARCADIS-US, Inc. is developing a risk characterization approach for T&E species potentially exposed to PFASs in the environment through historical and ongoing used of AFFF at DoD facilities ( Project Webpage).
Two projects are focused on defining lines of evidence for assessing effectiveness of proposed remediation technologies based on the current state of the science. Mr. Brian Shedd at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading a project to identify relevant and quantifiable factors controlling fate and transport of PFASs in the subsurface by analysis of aggregated and compiled data, minimizing site heterogeneity, and collecting and analyzing data from controlled testing of PFASs in a scaled aquifer ( Project Webpage). At Geosyntec Consultants, Dr. Rula Deeb and her project team are working to produce guidance for evaluating the effectiveness of PFAS treatment technologies, to provide accurate, more complete information about the effectiveness of remedial technologies for PFASs and allow for more realistic treatment expectations and less uncertainty ( Project Webpage).
Summaries of these research projects are available on the SERDP and ESTCP website and all reports originating from these efforts will be available from the project webpages.