Application of PFAS Forensic Techniques – Interpreting Data to Tell A Story
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Despite the ubiquity of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, the absolute and relative abundance of individual compounds in a sample can be utilized to identify distinct PFAS forensic signatures or "fingerprints".

When put into the framework of a conceptual site model PFAS "fingerprints" may indicate the presence of a single or multiple PFAS source zones or indicate that detections are representative of an "anthropogenic baseline" that is not clearly linked to a specific source, process, or release. Given the pervasiveness of PFAS in commercial and industrial materials, such as polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, packaging, as well as in fill and construction debris, it is increasingly important to determine if detections of PFAS in the environment suggest a distinct on-site source, a distinct off-site source, or are indicative of local or regional diffuse non-point sources. This presentation will demonstrate how Geosyntec is currently using PFAS forensics to contextualize results and provide clients and regulators with valuable information. Case studies will be presented in which forensic techniques have been utilized to evaluate if the composition of PFAS detected in environmental media are indicative of a single source or multiple sources. This presentation will also demonstrate how effective communication of PFAS forensics to both clients and regulators is of critical importance when attempting to differentiate sources.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Dylan Eberle
  • All Authors: Dylan Eberle
  • Title: The National Ground Water Association's (NGWA) Fate of PFAS: From Groundwater to Tap Water Conference
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Citation: Travis Kline, MEM (Washington D.C.) and Dylan Eberle, Ph.D.(Massachusetts)will present at the National Ground Water Association's (NGWA) Fate of PFAS: From Groundwater to Tap Water Conference on August 12, 2020.
  • Date: August 12, 2020
  • Location: Virtual Conference
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation