Leachate from unlined or poorly lined landfills, commonly found in industry and on construction sites, can contaminate local groundwater and surface water. Since PFAS don’t degrade naturally, contamination may continue for decades after the landfill has been decommissioned.
Municipal landfills are typically well lined, so leachate doesn’t leak directly into the surrounding environment. Instead, the leachate is often sent to the local wastewater treatment plant for processing. Unfortunately, traditional wastewater treatment processes do not remove PFAS and can convert PFAS precursors into terminal compounds
Both industrial and municipal landfills are easily contaminated with PFAS. Here are just a few common sources.
Roofing, carpeting, wiring, solar panels, and more may contain PFAS to make them more durable.
PFAS is often added to paper and paperboard food packaging to make it grease resistant.
PFAS has historically been used to weather-proof clothing or to make it flame retardant.
PFAS may be used in industrial applications as a lubricant or to increase mechanical durability.
PFAS added to plastics can prevent seepage and block noxious fumes and unpleasant odors.
Cosmetics, non-stick cookware, cleaning products and other waste may contain PFAS.
Many of the high profile PFAS lawsuits have involved industrial landfills, so even without specific laws targeting leachate, risk mitigation requires a focus in this area. In addition, the EPA plans to complete a detailed study on PFAS discharge from landfill by fall of 2022. They will use this data to inform future rulemaking.
Various methods can be used to assess PFAS in landfill leachate and solids. Pace® can help you select the right method based on your scenario and the goals of your project.
Download our PFAS Sampling Guide for PFAS test method details including:
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We can test for PFAS in both solid and aqueous matrices, including potable and non-potable waters, soils, and biota.
We’re on the leading edge of science, working with EPA, DOD, ASTM, and others to develop new methods for analyzing PFAS.