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PFAS porewater concentrations in unsaturated soil  

Yida Fang

In a recent Journal of Contaminant Hydrology article, Yida Fang, Ph.D., P.E., and his co-authors share the results of research measuring PFAS contamination from aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a common firefighting agent.  

Dr. Fang and co-authors note that the leaching of PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, from unsaturated soils impacted by AFFF “is an environmental challenge that remains difficult to measure and predict.” They conducted field and lab experiments using porous cup suction lysimeters to measure PFAS porewater concentrations at five AFFF-impacted sites, and they found that several factors, including the moisture content of the soil and the soil properties, influence PFAS leaching.  

The authors conclude that lab testing in some cases can inform in situ PFAS porewater concentrations, but that ultimately PFAS leaching from unsaturated soils is a complex and site-specific process that requires further research to better predict and manage. 

Read more of the article “PFAS porewater concentrations in unsaturated soil: Field and laboratory comparisons inform on PFAS accumulation at air-water interfaces.”