Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020WV045B

PFAS Occurrence in the Upper Ohio River Basin

Institute: West Virginia
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $5,200

Principal Investigators: Paul Ziemkiewicz

Abstract: Perfluorinated compounds, a group of widely used industrial chemical here referred to as PFAS/PFOS is recognized as a set of emerging contaminants of concern for drinking water quality, yet reliable, wide-ranging data on their presence is very sparse. PFAS are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, facilities using PFAS in production of other products, airports, and military installations are some of the contributors of PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects (USEPA 2016a, 2016b, ATSDR 2018a). Concern over their impact is shared by the Ohio River Sanitary Commission, (ORSANCO) at the multi-state compact level, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and U.S. Geological Survey at the federal level, PADEP and WVDEP at the state level, and public water authorities throughout the Ohio River Basin. A program of WV Water Research Institute - Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) has taken the lead to convene and coordinate this impressive cast of agencies to address this acute and serious lack of data, initiating and leading a collaborative program to establish a surface water sampling system of PFAS/PFOS for the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers and major tributaries in a 6-state region defined by the Ohio River Basin. While analytical lab methods and ground water collection methods are closer to becoming standardized, surface water collection methods are still undetermined. We propose to work in coordination with the above listed entities to collect surface water samples throughout the Upper Ohio River basin. Utilizing our established 3RQ sites and our established network of sampling teams to assist in the establishment of standard operating procedures for surface water collection of PFAS and ultimately perform PFAS sampling to determine the occurrence of PFAS in the Upper Ohio River basin.