Mar 19, 2020

Miami College Campus Contaminated with PFAS

Groundwater at Miami Dade College's North Campus is contaminated with PFAS

PFAS drinking water

Recent testing shows the groundwater at Miami Dade College's North Campus is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

That water is treated and circulated throughout parts of Miami-Dade County. Despite the test results, the county says its tap water is safe to drink, reported the Miami New Times.

"The county's Water and Sewer Department treats the drinking water, and it meets U.S. EPA standards," said Tere Florin, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources.

The contamination came from aqueous film-forming foam (AFFS) used by the Miami Dade College Fire Academy, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

The county's sole source of drinking water is groundwater from wells that feed into the Hialeah, Preston, or Alexander Orr treatment plants. The county's treatment plants do not remove PFAS compounds from water, according to Doug Yoder, deputy director of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department.

Florida does not have its own PFAS safety standard and relies on federal guidelines. 

Testing conducted on seven monitoring wells on Miami Dade College's North Campus this past October revealed PFAS readings exceeding the 70 parts per trillion (ppt) guideline. The well with the least amount of PFAS contained 800 ppt and the well with the most PFAS contained 26,100 ppt, reported the Miami New Times.

The state was notified shortly after the testing and officials are expected to sample nearby private wells soon, according to DEP records. State regulators are developing a cleanup plan at the North Campus site to remove or contain the contamination.

"The Department of Health has been notified, and sampling teams are canvassing the area," said Dave Phillips, an environmental administrator with the DEP.

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