What is Groundwater Quality/Emerging Contaminants (PFAS)
Groundwater is a valuable source of drinking water, which helps us battle drought conditions. Before reaching consumers, it must meet certain quality standards to be utilized as a potable source. Various chemicals from human or nature activities impair quality of groundwater and therefore a thorough assessment is required before utilizing any groundwater as a water supply source. On the other hand, as our technology in detecting various compounds progresses over time, emerging contaminants appear in our drinking water sources. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are the recent emerging contaminants that threaten our nation’s drinking water sources and require a collaborative effort to eliminate these “forever chemicals” from our water sources.
When Did PFAS Emerge?
Discovery of PFAS in drinking water and its adverse health effects is indebted to a long and historic litigation effort against DuPont de Nemours, Inc., and The 3M Company, which was led by Rob Bilott, a corporate attorney who later became an environmentalist. This is a fascinating story that disclosed unsettling news about the PFAS threat but ushered regulatory actions in controlling PFAS production and addressing PFAS contamination. There is still a great void in our understanding of PFAS sources, occurrences, fate and transport, and treatment options, which constrains the regulatory authorities in issuing robust PFAS investigation and remediation regulations. This lack of certainty calls for a collaborative effort throughout the nation to collect appropriate and representative data that will fill in the gaps and provide a valuable tool set for decision-makers to enforce appropriate regulations.