Compounds of emerging concern can potentially affect the health of aquatic biological communities and may also pose a risk to humans. In recent years, PFAS such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) have been identified as a potential threat to public health. We have seen an increasing focus on the characterization and assessment of PFAS at industrial sites, airports, military installations, and in receiving waters and the broader environment. There has also been little Federal guidance on what levels of PFOA/PFOS are safe, leaving the States to piece together standards and criteria under various environmental laws with a limited technical basis.
Scientific methods are rapidly evolving to control the quality of analytical data, perform site characterizations, execute field sampling, and predict contaminant fate and transport for a range of PFAS compounds with widely differing chemical and toxicological characteristics. The solutions we develop for our clients need to be based on the most current scientific research, tailored for each site’s specific risk as well as innovative, cost-effective, and able to withstand rigorous scientific and regulatory review.
Here are some examples of our work:
We are the lead consultant for a chrome plating operation in Michigan, dealing with multiple issues related to past use of PFOS-containing chemicals. Work includes in-plant source reduction, implementation of specialized wastewater treatment to achieve very low PFOS concentrations in effluent, soil and groundwater investigation, and storm water compliance activities.
We have planned and conducted a site investigation to evaluate PFOA and PFOS soil contamination at an industrial facility in Alabama. This work also included an assessment of historical operations to identify potential sources. We are currently preparing to implement a groundwater investigation plan that we developed for our client.
We are providing consultation and technical services to a major airport in Michigan related to past use of fire-fighting materials containing PFOS. Services include soil and groundwater investigation, fate and transport evaluation, and preparation of technical communications.
We recently provided expert support involving PFOS fate and transport in the environment related to discharges (wastewater and groundwater) to the Mississippi River. Part of this work involved developing a bioaccumulation model for PFOS. The legal action resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement in favor of our client.
We recently completed an evaluation of the fate and transport of PFOA in the Ohio River for an industrial client with a wastewater discharge from their facility. We will be using this information to assist the client with presenting results to the regulators and developing appropriate permit limits.