WHAT TRIBAL LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PFAS

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The EPA’s strategic roadmap for 2021-2024 calls for cooperating with Tribal leaders to protect their communities from PFAS contamination. Here’s what you need to know to be part of that conversation

COMMON PFAS SOURCES

Evaluating your community for potential sources of PFAS can help you assess a potential PFAS problem. Identifying these sources can also help community leaders obtain access to funding for remediation and control efforts.

AIRPORTS AND DOD FACILITIES

The aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) used to fight chemical fires are a common source of PFAS contamination. After an emergency or training exercise, released AFFF can seep into the ground to contaminate soil and groundwater on adjacent Tribal lands. AFFF that enters the storm drainage system can also contaminate local surface waters and enter the public water systems.

FIREFIGHTING

AFFF is also used regularly to fight municipal fires involving flammable liquids. Although fluorine-free foams (FFF) are available, they are slowly being phased in, and not all FFF are free from PFAS. Pace® can test both your legacy AFFF and newer stocks of FFF to determine how much and which PFAS they contain.

Had a Recent Fire Emergency?

Our Emergency Rapid Response team can help you assess potential PFAS contamination in the event of a fire, train derailment, or other disaster.

PFAS TEST METHODS

Whether testing for drinking water compliance or public health and safety concerns, Pace® has the services you need. We offer testing services for a wide range of liquid and solid matrices, including potable & non-potable waters, leachate, solids, soil & sediment, stack emissions, and air. In addition to analyzing for targeted PFAS, we can also analyze matrices for total organofluorines and PFAS precursors.

LANDFILLS

Landfills are another common source of PFAS contamination. As liquid (rain, condensation, liquid waste) passes through a landfill, it can leach PFAS from solid waste. Common examples include construction materials, carpeting, packaging, weather-proof clothing, and non-stick cookware. If the lining breaks down – or if the landfill was never lined – this leachate can contaminate the surrounding soil and groundwater.

WASTEWATER TREATMENT

Storm sewers, industrial discharge, landfill leachate, and other non-potable liquids that can contain PFAS are often sent to the wastewater treatment facility for processing. Unfortunately, traditional wastewater treatment does not remove PFAS. In fact, it can convert PFAS precursors into PFAS, further compounding a local contamination issue. 

BIOSOLIDS

Roughly half of the domestic sewage sludge produced by wastewater treatment in the United States is applied to agriculture as biosolids. If Tribal lands are surrounded by agriculture, PFAS contamination can spread to local ground and surface waters and contaminate food and drinking water supplies. While this is particularly a concern for more rural communities, PFAS has also been found in some brands of organic fertilizers used by home gardeners.

COMMERCIAL 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, and high winds can carry products that have not completely combusted (PICs) to surrounding communities. Here are four types of incinerators that can contribute to PFAS contamination on Tribal lands:

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

UCMR 5

The EPA’s fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) mandates are set to take effect in January 2023 and will impact Tribal water systems. All public water systems (PWS) serving 3,300 or more customers will be required to sample each entry point to the distribution system. The EPA will also select several hundred smaller PWS to participate as well. The UCMR 5 contaminants list includes 29 PFAS plus lithium.

REASONS TO CHOOSE PACE®

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EXPERIENCED

Pace® has been an industry leader in persistent organic pollutant testing for over three decades.
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CERTIFIED

We’re certified/accredited by NELAC, ISO, DOD, DOE, and in every state with a PFAS lab certification program.

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RELIABLE

For emergencies, our Rapid Response Team can provide defensible results in as little as 24 hours.

Committed

COMMITTED

We are committed to helping our customers advance their important work through building strong relationships, delivering upon expectations, and providing exceptional customer service.

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ADVANCED

We can test for PFAS in both solid and aqueous matrices, including potable and non-potable waters, soils, and biota.

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INNOVATIVE

We’re on the leading edge of science, working with EPA, DOD, ASTM, and others to develop new methods for analyzing PFAS.

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