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New York

Conventional Engineering for a New Environmental Problem

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued a request for information to a commercial airport with potential PFAS contamination. When the subsequent stormwater compliance sampling detected PFAS discharge from a stormwater sewer outfall, a comprehensive investigation was undertaken to identify and isolate the source.

PFAS are a large group of chemicals that were used in a wide range of heat-, water, and oil-resistant products from the 1950s until recently when the federal government issued a public health warning about their potential threat to human health and the environment.

Toxicity data for PFAS chemicals are still emerging and gold-standard remediation methods are still being tested. TRC is a national leader in the newer, complex sampling and analytical methodologies, which are specific for PFAS. Lack of expertise in these areas can generate inaccurate and nonrepresentative results.

We responded to the airport’s request for sampling data and a solution to the contamination problem, which posed potential long-term liabilities. Our team carried out PFAS testing and developed an emergency re-engineering of site infrastructure that involved installation of sewer pipe lining to prevent PFAS-impacted water from infiltrating the sewer system and discharging off-site.

Our ability to accurately identify the contamination source and follow through with a low-cost engineering solution brought both short- and long-term benefits to our client as well as the environment. PFAS levels quickly dropped after implementation, and subsequent stormwater outfall sampling shows mass discharge rates have been reduced by more than 90%.

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