Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a class of emerging contaminants whose release in the environment has occurred from industrial and firefighting activities. PFASs are used in a multitude of industrial and consumer products (electronics, aerospace/defense, building/construction, alternative energy, automotive, semiconductors, military, healthcare, outdoor apparel/equipment and chemical/pharmaceutical). Most notably PFASs are part of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used for fire training and firefighting. PFASs are a class of compounds with carbon-carbon chains of various lengths, varying degrees of fluorine saturation, and organic acid or sulfonate functional groups at one terminal end. Fluorine-carbon bonds are one of the strongest bonds in nature; therefore PFASs have distinct and unique properties of strength, durability, heat-resistance and chemical stability. These compounds are also highly soluble in water and persistent in the environment, and as a result PFAS plumes tend to be large, dilute, and represent potentially large financial and environmental risks. Environmental investigation and characterization for PFASs face numerous challenges, including the potential for cross-contamination during sampling and analysis, environmental ubiquity, the potential for multiple release modes and sources, and multiple transport pathways (air, water, soil and bedrock). In addition, limited remediation technologies are available. A discussion of these topics and information on potential for risk to human health and ecological receptors will be presented.
This presentation will be made by Dr. Katherine Davis, Mr. James Fenstermacher, PE, and Dr. Sagar Thakali of AECOM. Dr. Davis, North America PFAS Lead for AECOM, is a Principal Geologist with over 15 years of experience working on a fluoropolymer manufacturing facility project in West Virginia. She previously was the AECOM PFAS Technical Practice Group Lead. Mr. Fenstermacher is a Remediation Technical Lead with over 28 years of experience, and is the PFAS Regional Lead for the North East Region. He is the portfolio-wide Program Technical Manager for a large, multi-national chemical manufacturing client, and has served in an advisory capacity on numerous complex remediation projects for this and other major clients within AECOM. Dr. Thakali is a Principal Risk Assessor for AECOM.
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