Aug 12, 2020

Researcher Awarded $755,000 for PFAS Monitoring Device

University of Arkansas civil engineering researcher Julian Fairey has been awarded $755,000 for a PFAS monitoring device 

pfas water quality

A University of Arkansas civil engineering researcher, Julian Fairey, has been awarded $755,000 from the Department of Defense. 

The money will help develop a new monitoring method for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water on military installations, according to the University of Arkansas.

Fairey, associate professor of civil engineering, will develop a device that can monitor the presence of PFAS in water with higher accuracy and lower costs than the traditional methods. The DoD hopes this will streamline cleanup efforts in areas where firefighting foams containing these substances have been used over the last half-century, which are high priority. 

Fairey plans to develop a device the size of a hockey puck that can sample the PFAS in water over several weeks to months, giving an accurate account of the extent of contamination, according to the university. 

“This builds on existing methods by many research groups over the past 30 years,” said Fairey. “The application of this technique to PFAS has many challenges that require reengineering various elements of existing passive samplers. We are also developing a passive sampling device for contaminants in drinking water distribution systems, known as disinfection byproducts or DBPs, some of which are known human carcinogens. Such a passive sampling device could facilitate more accurate DBP exposure assessments while reducing the associated labor and analytical costs.”

The device will be able to determine the concentrations of 24 PFAS prioritized by the DoD and could also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for removing PFAS from water at contaminated sites, added Fairey.

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