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August 20, 2020

EPA Awards Nearly $5 Million for Research on Managing PFAS in Rural Areas

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it was awarding $4.8 million in research funding to three universities to better understand and manage the potential impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances.

The research will focus on impacts in rural communities and agricultural operations. Among its uses, PFAS substances were or are used in non-stick cooking pans, apparel and furniture coatings, and fire-retardant foam to smother flames. The chemicals make the foam resistant to grease, water, dirt and heat, which make it useful in extinguishing jet fuel fires. 

While many PFAS uses have been phased out and are no longer used, they can persist and accumulate in the environment for years. And there is is evidence that exposure to PFAS can can lead to adverse human health effects.  

The three research awards went to:

• Indiana University to develop a scalable platform for predicting PFAS occurrence in private wells to better understand exposure risks.

• Purdue University to investigate the occurrence of PFAS in private drinking wells and water resource recovery facilities in rural communities as well as the contribution of PFAS from land-application of wastewater and biosolids to rural water supplies.

• University of Georgia to develop improved, cost-effective treatment systems for the removal of PFAS from water, wastewater and biosolids.

You can learn more about each of the three projects here.