Evaluation of the Effects of PFAS Soil Adsorption and Transformation

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TRC’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) experts published an article that summarized a bench‐scale study to evaluate the effect of divalent cations on the adsorption of PFAS onto soil particles.

The study entailed batch testing of a synthetic soil mixture under a range of Epsom salt (soluble magnesium sulfate heptahydrate) concentrations. The synthetic soil was produced using a mix of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter that then was mixed and saturated with water collected from a PFAS‐impacted water source.

The results indicate that variable concentrations of magnesium (divalent cation) had a minor effect on the sorption of perfluorooctane sulfonate with the highest sorption occurring in the strongest solution of Epsom salt. An unanticipated result of the test involved apparent biomediated transformation of polyfluorinated alkylated sulfonates (fluorotelomers or FTS) to perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorononanoic acid. We believe this is the first time the complete transformation of 6:2 FTS to PFHpA has been observed and reported under ambient surface water‐like conditions within 6 months, a relatively short timeframe.

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