Speaker: Lindsay Boone, M.Sc.
The presence of Per & Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in influent/effluent wastewater samples is of growing concern. Detectable levels are on the rise, and the number of affected communities is expanding. That some of these compounds correlate with adverse health and ecological risks—combined with the extreme difficulty of efficiently minimizing their presence to non-detectable levels—necessitates an aggressive and continual commitment to evolving the underlying science and methods which underpin an accurate, reproducible approach to analysis. While an effective analytical protocol for detection of PFAS is in place, there may be additional and heretofore unknown variables at play. Given the complex and chemically rich sample matrix which characterizes wastewater, unknown yet impactful variables are probable. Of interest here: 1) the effect of known and detectable PFAS precursors (additional precursors may remain undiscovered) within influent wastewater on the presence of PFAS remaining in terminal wastewater & 2) the potential effects of suspended particulates present in samples collected for PFAS analysis, as the nature and quantity of particulates may vary wildly depending on the time/date of sample extraction. Detection and analysis preface and inform any effective treatment. Therefore, identifying the ideal solution to the initial problem demands a more complete understanding of the foundational chemistry which governs these complex systems.