DO I NEED TO TEST FOR PFAS?

It's a question on the minds of many state and local officials thanks to the growing awareness of PFAS contamination and its harmful effects on human health.

Local and State Governments

Municipalities

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Municipalities are on the hot seat in the fight against PFAS contamination. They're responsible for ensuring the safety of the public, and they're often the first to be held accountable.

Wastewater
Treatment

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Traditional wastewater treatment doesn't remove PFAS from influent. In fact, it can convert PFAS precursors into PFAS chemicals.

Tribal Lands

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Tribal leaders sometimes need to take the lead on PFAS testing to ensure the waters on their lands are protected.

Airports

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Airports are a leading source of PFAS contamination thanks to years of using PFAS-containing AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam).

Download the Guide

To learn more about:

 

Reaasons to test for PFASReasons to test for PFAS

 

Sources of PFASSources of PFAS

 

Current EPA test methodsCurrent EPA test Methods

 

Status of PFAS regulationsStatus of PFAS Regulations

Thumbnail of ebook PFAS guide for Municipalities created by Pace Analytical
 

What Matrices Do I Need To Test?

Most of the current regulatory activity and media attention focuses on drinking water, but
PFAS contamination can be found across a wide range of matrices.

 

DRINKING WATER

While there are no enforceable regulations at the federal level, the EPA has issued recommendations for PFOA and PFOS. Not content to wait, many states have passed their own legislation and more are considering it.

Drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFAS

Download the ITRC table for a current list of state legislation and regulatory limits.

drinking water in glass
 

GROUNDWATER & SURFACE WATER

The EPA has issued guidance for federal cleanup sites covered by federal programs such as CERCLA and RCRA. This guidance includes a screening limit of 40 ppt (parts per trillion) and a 70 ppt MCL (maximum contaminant level) for PFAS.

EPA Interim Guidance for Groundwater

Other federal programs related to PFAS

Download the ITRC table for a current list of state legislation and regulatory limits.

groundwater image of stream lined with grass and trees
 

WASTEWATER

Traditional wastewater treatment doesn't remove PFAS. In fact, it can convert PFAS precursors into PFAS. As Wastewater Treatment can be a conduit for PFAS to enter groundwater, surface water, drinking water, and the food chain, many wastewater treatment operators are testing both influent and effluent.

Learn more about Wastewater

Do I need to test both influent and effluent?

aerial view of wastewater treatment ponds
 

SOIL & BIOTA

The EPA is collaborating with the DoD to create and validate a method for identifying PFAS in solid matrices (e.g., soil, sediment, fish tissue, biosolids) as well as non-potable waters and other aqueous matrices. Single-laboratory validation of the method is targeted for winter 2020, with multi-laboratory validation likely to follow in 2021.

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AIR & Emissions

For state and local governments, the most common example of air emissions testing involves stack emissions from industry.

Sampling stack emissions requires specialized sampling equipment to be placed inside the stack by qualified personnel. The media is then tested using a modified version of Test Method 537M. Keep in mind that 537M refers to any modified version of Method 537. Not all labs that offer modified test methods are equipped to test air emissions.

Learn More About Our Stack Emissions Testing Program

 

smokestacks emitting vapor of white clouds
 

A BURNING PROBLEM: INCINERATORS

Incineration has long-been a preferred method for disposing of industrial waste and chemical stockpiles. Unfortunately, new evidence suggests that "thermal destruction" isn't as effective as once thought. Soil, ash, groundwater, and air samples taken from incinerator sites and the surrounding areas have shown elevated levels of PFAS.

Here are four types of incinerators that may be contributing to a PFAS contamination problem:

  • Industrial
  • Medical waste disposal
  • Domestic waste disposal
  • Sewage sludge incineration
Incenrators
 

PFAS REGULATIONS

PFAS is often seen as unregulated, but that's not entirely true. To fully assess your local PFAS testing and reporting requirements, you need to look at three sources of guidance, standards, and regulations: the EPA, Congress, and the states in which you do business. The link below provides links to state-level PFAS guidance and standard operating procedures.

Learn More

 

DO I HAVE A PFAS PROBLEM?

Officials charged with protecting the public health should consider the types of industry in their area. Manufacturers of PFAS chemicals and those industries that use PFAS in production are the number one indicator of a potential PFAS problem. But remember, PFAS chemicals don't break down naturally. Even if the plant shut down years ago, there may still be PFAS in the surrounding soil and waterways.

Download the Infographic: Sources of PFAS Contamination

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Here's What You Need To Know

Download our webinar to stay up to date on PFAS Contamination and Testing in 2020.

Watch The On Demand Webinar Now

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The Dos and Don'ts of PFAS Sampling

Due to the potential presence of PFAS in common products and equipment used to collect samples, special care must be taken to avoid sample contamination.

Download the PFAS Sampling Guide

Need Results Fast?

Let Pace professionals take care of all your sampling requirements including equipment, staff, and paperwork.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to worry about PFAS from the local landfill?

Most municipal landfills are lined and have leachate collection systems, so they are unlikely to contaminate local groundwater and drinking water sources. However, their leachate is a source of PFAS contamination that is frequently sent to municipal wastewater treatment plants. In addition, private construction and demolition landfills often lack leachate collection systems, so they can be a direct source of contamination.

 

What if we're surrounded by farmland?
Should I still be concerned?

More than half of the sewage sludge produced in the U.S. as a byproduct of wastewater treatment is applied to agricultural land as biosolids. This transfers PFAS to the soil, and ultimately, to the food chain.

Do I need to test both influent and effluent?

Unless you’re in a state that requires  sampling of both influent and effluent, this is not required. Since PFAS pass through most wastewater treatment plant processes largely unchanged, some argue that sampling influent is sufficient. However, traditional wastewater treatment processes can convert PFAS precursors into PFAS compounds, so sampling of effluent is often warranted.

 

What are replacement PFAS?

The production of PFOA and PFOS was voluntarily phased out in the United States years ago. However, there are other PFAS that have been developed to replace them. GenX, for example, is a trade name for a PFAS chemical used to make high performance fluoropolymers (e.g., some nonstick coatings) without the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). GenX has been found in surface water, groundwater, finished drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions in some areas.

 

Take The Next Step

 

4 Reasons to Choose Pace®

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Experienced

Pace Analytical® has been an industry leader in persistent organic pollutant testing for over three decades, and we were one of the first commercial laboratories to analyze for PFAS compounds.

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Certified

Pace maintains certifications and accreditations in every state that offers or requires them. We're also certified/accredited by NELAC, ISO, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

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Rapid Response

The Pace Rapid Response Team can quickly respond to any emergency. Our team will coordinate sample container delivery, assist with technical information needed onsite, and ensure samples are delivered as quickly as possible to the appropriate Pace laboratory. In many cases, we can provide PFAS results in as little as 24 hours.

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PFAST ®

Our mobile lab is the only certified mobile lab in the industry capable of analyzing PFAS in the single-digit, parts-per-trillion range. This lab can identify PFAS plumes and source areas and provide fully defensible data, often with same-day results and at a lower cost than expedited services at other labs.