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MABA March Webinar
Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT
Category: Webinar

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MABA March 15 Webinar: PFAS - What we know, what we're learning, and what's to come

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. Data has highlighted some important aspects of PFAS contamination across the world. (ATSDR, NCEH Fact Sheet. (cdc.gov)

  • PFAS do not occur naturally, but are widespread in the environment.
  • PFAS are found in people, wildlife and fish all over the world.
  • Some PFAS can stay in people’s bodies a long time.
  • Some PFAS do not break down easily in the environment.

This webinar will include presentations that discuss flows of PFAS compounds to WWTFs, document PFAS loadings related to land application of biosolids, and also provide a current update. Current research efforts regarding exposure pathways for PFAS have focused, in part, on drinking water and wastewater. Less focus has been placed on PFAS impacts associated with biosolids. This webinar will include presentations that document studies related to land application of biosolids, and also provide a current update from EPA Office of Research and Development regarding recent approaches for treatment of PFAS-impacted waters.

Member: $20
Nonmember: $35

Moderator:  David "DJ Wacker, PE, Project Manager, RK&K

Presentation 1: Does land application of biosolids result in significantly increased human exposure to PFAS?
Dr. Ian Pepper, Director of The Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center at the University of Arizona
Dr. Pepper is taking on the PFAS issue of greatest concern to biosolids practitioners – the fate and transport of PFAS following land application.  The central question is: does land application of biosolids result in significantly increased human exposure to PFAS? and the corollary question, will that pathway likely result in a national ban on land application? Dr. Pepper has set forth a national study of numerous sites across the country with good records on land application of biosolids to evaluate whether or not land application of biosolids is a significant public health route of exposure and to evaluate the potential for crop uptake of PFAS following land application.  Funding and testing sites are being solicited, and webinar participants are invited to follow up with Dr. Pepper for both.

Presentation 2: Statewide PFAS Assessment of WWTPs in Michigan and Implications to the Beneficial Use of Biosolids for Land Application
Dorin Bogdan, Ph. D., Environmental Engineer, AECOM
The presentation will provide a comprehensive statewide summary of over 2,000 PFAS samples for Michigan's industrial sources, influent, effluent, and biosolids. The WWTPs impact will also be compared to the 2021 AECOM National WWTP Study. The presentation will summarize over 250 PFAS samples from multiple environmental matrices of the statewide evaluation of 22 agricultural fields from Michigan.

Presentation 3: Fighting Against Forever Chemicals
Mohamed Ateia Ibrahim, Ph.D., Environmental Engineer and Group Leader, US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
Separating PFAS from water and ultimately degrading them into products that lack carbon-fluorine bonds will be important for decontaminating our water resources. Yet conventional treatment methods have critical deficiencies, such as low affinity toward short-chain PFAS, and are impacted by background organic and inorganic constituents. The recent advancements in the development of PFAS-selective adsorbents now offer the possibility of short- and long-chain PFAS treatment using regenerable sorbents such as cyclodextrin polymers and amine-functionalized materials. However, currently available data the treatment of PFAS-impacted waters will necessitate a treatment train approach. Such tandem-mode setups would consist of a separation step (e.g., adsorption or nanofiltration) followed by a destruction process applied to the adsorbents, retentate, and/or regeneration solutions. This talk will cover some of the emerging technologies that show promise to solve some of these challenges.