Soil can become contaminated with PFAS in a variety of ways, such as wastewater discharge, biosolids, incinerator ash, and more. Through plant uptake, this PFAS can travel to the food we eat. Drinking water sources can also be contaminated through runoff into local waterways and seepage into underground aquifers.
The U.S. EPA has not targeted PFAS in soil as aggressively as in drinking water, but that’s about to change. In August of 2022, the agency issued a proposed rule defining PFOA and PFOS hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). This would give the EPA the authority to designate a site a Superfund site and issue cleanup orders for PFOA and PFOS releases – past or present. Cases that were closed years ago may even be reopened, and property owners could be on the hook for contamination they didn’t cause.
Many states are promising action against PFAS polluters as well. For example, Washington State has already declared PFAS a hazardous substance under its Model Toxics Control Act. This state law gives the WA Department of Ecology the authority to assess sites suspected of being contaminated with PFAS and to issue remediation and cleanup orders. Currently, Washington is targeting PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and Gen X. Other states, such as New Jersey, are establishing soil remediation standards for specific PFAS, including PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, and GenX.
Multiple test methods can be used to analyze for PFAS in soil and other solids. If you are complying with state sampling mandates, always check to see if a specific test method is required in your state.
Remediating PFAS in soil often requires locating the source of that PFAS. Pace® has developed testing methods and protocols for analyzing PFAS across several vectors of contamination.
Used to fight chemical and aviation fires
Land-applied as fertilizer
For particles of incomplete combustion (PICs)
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