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Jacobs Participating in Research Study to Develop New Instrumentation and Methods for PFAS Site Characterization

Jacobs (NYSE:J), in collaboration with Principal Investigator Dr. David Hanigan with the University of Nevada, Reno, is participating in a research and development grant from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) for Rapid Site Profiling of Organofluorine: Quantification of PFASs by Combustion Gas Analysis.

SERDP is an environmental research collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, harnessing the latest science and technology to improve environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities. Expected benefits to the federal government include reduced labor associated with site profiling and reduced analytical lab costs and uncertainty, leading to better site characterization and reduced duration of site remediation.  

Sampling and quantifying per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is required to assess impacts and remediate contaminated sites, but the process is time-consuming, requires costly instrumentation and expertise, and fails to capture many organofluorine transformation products and precursors with possible health impacts to exposed aquatic species and humans. The overarching objective of this project is to develop and validate robust, field-ready instrumentation and methods to quantify total organofluorine.

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"Jacobs brings to this research project extensive planning, technical support, groundwater sampling and technology transfer experience gained on PFAS assessments at thousands of potential release locations around the globe," said Jacobs People & Places Solutions Senior Vice President and Global Environmental Market Director Jan Walstrom.

PFAS are released to the environment through several pathways, including use as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) for fire-fighting by the U.S. military and the aviation industry, as well as municipal and industrial fire departments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set health advisory levels for two PFAS based upon environmental persistence and adverse health outcomes, and the subsurface is contaminated with PFAS at multiple U.S. military bases, airports and industrial sites.

Expected benefits to the scientific community include an increased understanding of organofluorine cycling in aqueous and soil systems and understanding of PFAS outside of those quantifiable by modern liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) techniques. This approach will also support Dynamic Work Planning, Triad, and other efficient approaches to site characterization utilizing field-based decision-making.

For more than a decade, Jacobs' water and environmental technologists have been supporting municipal, federal and commercial clients with PFAS assessment and treatment. Additionally, since 2013, the company has been working on multiple SERDP research projects for PFAS characterization, treatment and remediation. Jacobs' technologists and scientists are partnering with the world's leading academics to better characterize, understand behavior and develop increasingly effective cleanup technologies for PFAS in groundwater and soil.

Source: Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
Date: Apr 23, 2020

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