PFAS – Coming Soon to a Sediment Site Near You!
« All Publications

Currently, most environmental assessment and management of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) at contaminated sites primarily focuses on drinking water resources.

However, given the relatively mobile nature of many PFAS, leading their ability to travel offsite via groundwater and surface water transport pathways, PFAS has the potential to threaten aquatic systems.  In particular, the sorptive nature of many PFAS, just like many other organic chemicals, can and does lead to the accumulation of detectable concentrations of PFAS in aquatic sediment.  As with other sediment-associated organic chemicals, PFAS accumulation in aquatic food webs has been confirmed and had led to the exceedances of risk-based screening levels in fish that are protective of human health recreational and/or subsistence fish consumption risks.  Food web modeling and measurements of PFAS in sediment-dwelling biota suggests that addressing fish consumption risks will likely involve assessment and management of PFAS in sediment, adding PFAS to the list of chemicals routinely evaluated at contaminated sediment sites.  Simply put, if PFAS is not a part of your sediment site, it will be soon, and if you are investigating or managing an upland PFAS site, addressing the nearest water body will likely be in your future.  Fortunately, typical sediment investigative tools still apply for PFAS environmental decision making, and many of the remediation approaches used for contaminated sediments can be adapted to manage PFAS sediment risks.  The presentation will also include ideas on key data gaps and research ideas that will be necessary to address in order to respond to PFAS in sediment. 

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Jason Conder
  • All Authors: Jason Conder
  • Title: RPIC 2021
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Contaminated Site Assessment and Cleanup
  • Citation: Geosyntec, Savron (a Geosyntec company), and SiREM (a Geosyntec company practitioners will present virtually at the Workshop from November 15-18, 2021.
  • Date: November 15-18, 2021
  • Location: Online
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation