Model Simulations of PFOA Fate and Transport in Groundwater and Surface Water: The Role of Precursors on Remedy Selection
Kyle Gustafson, PE, and Brenden Covert, Senior Engineers, Anchor QEA
Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 11:45am-1pm
Hybrid Format – In person and virtual
CEMS has received one (1) general CLE credit for this presentation
Chemical precursors to PFAS compounds commonly undergo in-situ transformation processes that may result in regulated compounds such as PFOA and PFOS. The rate of transformation and the degree of sorption to soil or sediment particles has important implications on how appropriate various remedial measures will prove to be, thereby affecting the regulatory, legal, and design-related context of an environmental cleanup action.
Precursors are rarely characterized in detail during site investigations and remedial design, which can lead to unexpected remedial outcomes, since the impacts of precursors play a significant role on whether PFAS remediation will in fact be necessary or beneficial. The study presented in this talk assessed how the presence of unregulated precursors may affect the outcome of remedial actions targeting regulated PFAS.
Remediation scenarios were simulated in various models, including source removal/stabilization with capping, pump-and-treat, and permeable reactive barrier. Simulation results for different source terms and remedial technologies were compared in terms of downgradient plume remediation time frame, overall remedial effectiveness, and required duration of remediation.
This work included the first modeling study we are aware of that included explicit simulation of precursor transformation to a mobile, regulated, daughter PFAS. With future improvements in precursor characterization, similar modeling approaches will become increasingly important for successful remedial design and decision-making at PFAS sites.
Kyle is a civil/environmental engineer with a background in hydrology, water and wastewater treatment, and water resources. Kyle has been involved in research and development for PFAS compounds in groundwater systems intended to provide streamlined approaches to fate and transport. He studied hydrology (MS degree) at Colorado School of Mines and environmental engineering (BS degree) at CU Boulder.
Brenden is an environmental engineer/scientist with a background in hydrology, environmental modeling, and water and wastewater treatment. Brenden has been involved with research and development efforts on contaminate fate and transport modeling of PFAS, and techniques to treat drinking water contaminated with PFAS. He studied water resources engineering (MS degree) and environmental resources engineering (BS degree) at the State University of New York.
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