EPA Awards over $1.3 million to Texas Universities to Research Potential Environmental Impacts in Waste Streams
DALLAS (Sept. 17, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approximately $1.3 million to fund research by two academic institutions in Texas. Texas A&M AgriLife and Texas Tech University will work to expand the understanding of the environmental risks posed by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in waste streams. They will also work to identify practical approaches to manage the potential impacts as PFAS enters the environment.
“We are pleased to see Texas’ top-notch researchers join others from across the country to help us better understand and address the impacts of PFAS,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “The research provided by this funding will foster innovative solutions to an emerging chemical of concern.”
Taking concrete actions to address PFAS is one of EPA’s highest priorities. EPA’s recently released PFAS Action Plan identifies both short-term solutions for addressing PFAS chemicals and long-term strategies that will help provide the tools and technologies states, tribes and local communities need to clean up sites and provide clean, safe drinking water to their residents.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research in College Station, Texas plans to investigate the feasibility of electron beam technology for the destruction of PFAS compounds during the remediation of groundwater, wastewater, sewage sludges, and soils. Additionally, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas plans to identify and quantify the occurrence of PFAS in landfill leachate, investigate the fate of PFAS passing through typical landfill liner systems, and test the ability to break down PFAS in landfill leachate using soundwaves.
Nationally, EPA awarded almost $6 million to eight recipients to receive funding through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program. For more information on EPA’s recipients, visit https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/643/records_per_page/ALL
PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. Due to widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. EPA continues to evaluate the potential risk of these compounds to human health and the environment, but there is evidence that chronic exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects.
PFAS have been found in solid waste, landfills and surrounding environmental media (soil, groundwater), leachates, landfill gas, wastewater effluents, and biosolids. However, current treatment options are limited, as many conventional treatment methods are ineffective. In funding these projects, EPA is specifically supporting research to identify or develop innovative methods to treat or manage PFAS before it enters the environment to minimize its risks to humans and ecosystems. The resulting data will help researchers understand the occurrence, fate and transport of PFAS and identify methods or technologies to better manage PFAS-containing waste.
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