The central motivation for the proposed research is to improve scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of PFAS in under-studied, public works-generated waste streams such as biosolids, drinking water treatment sludge, C&D RSM, street sweepings and catch basin sediments. We believe this is urgently needed for the following reasons:
- PFAS contamination is becoming increasingly widespread in the environment (Munoz et al., 2017); PFAS has been linked to adverse health effects, such as developmental effects (e.g., low birth weights), cancer, and immune effects (US EPA, 2020)
- Following the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) establishment of a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in 2016, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has followed suit with provisional Soil and Groundwater Cleanup Target Levels (Stuchal and Roberts, 2019). Other Federal and State regulatory agencies are developing and promulgating risk-based health levels and cleanup thresholds along with hazardous waste criterion.
- Detailed PFAS characterizations of these soil-like waste streams will be critically important to municipalities when PFAS becomes a regulated contaminant. The Hinkley Center has a track record of funding research on these waste streams and this information has been critical in the development of FDEP regulation, guidance, and policy. This research is needed to inform FDEP of potential modifications or strategies required as a result of PFAS.
- In addition to total PFAS, PFAS leaching characterizations inform management strategies and disposal decisions for these waste streams.