What Are PFAS? Are They In Your Drinking Water? And How QK Can Help.
What are PFAS? Are they in your dringking water?
In August 2019, the California Division of Drinking Water (DDW) established notification levels for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA). The notification level for PFOS is 6.5 parts per trillion and 5.1 parts per trillion for PFOA. Collectively, PFOS and PFOA are know as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Notification levels are a non-regulatory, precautionary health-based measure for levels in drinking water that warrant notification and further monitoring and assessment.
The ACE Mentor Program is an afterschool program that introduces students to careers in architecture, construction management, and engineering and oftentimes, other related disciplines. QK’s involvement with ACE mentorship began in 2011 and ended in 2014. I first became involved with ACE in 2012 teaching the students at Edison High School in southwest Fresno all about planning. Other mentors assisted with engineering, architecture, construction, estimating, and even biology. The Aquarius Aquarium Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization, establishes environmental teaching programs utilizing aquariums to help bring educational parity to central San Joaquin Valley students and citizens of all backgrounds and cultural groups in addition to being the organization behind the Fresno Aquarium project. A ten-acre site was donated at the intersection of the San Joaquin River and Highway 99 – a gateway entry site to the City of Fresno. In 2011, the Fresno Aquarium became the selected project to be studied by the Edison High students. The students developed 3-D models and presented their projects at a special event hosted by the Central California Builders Exchange. The previous project was the Dickey Park Youth Center near downtown Fresno. Following the aquarium project, students later chose to select their own projects for detailed studies. The selected project in 2013-14 was a Family Entertainment Center, an all-in-one arcade that included golf carts, video arcade, trampolines, batting cages, laser tag and more. Teaching high school students all about planning, architecture, engineering, and construction can be a rewarding experience.
Where did pfas come from?
The major sources of PFAS are: fire training/fire response sites, industrial sites, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants/biosolids. In 2019, the DDW ordered 600 water systems and 250 locations near major source area to sample for PFAS. The results of this sampling are available on the DDW website.
What should I do?
Public water systems are encouraged to test their water for PFAS. There are only a handful of analytical laboratories in the State accredited to test for PFAS. QK can assist you in attaining the proper samples and work with an accredited lab to have the samples tested.
What if I have PFAS?
If testing shows PFAS above the notification levels, QK can assist you in evaluating options to mitigate the concentration on PFAS. Treatment of PFAS is dependent upon which of the PFAS chemicals are present. Treatment may involve activated carbon, anion exchange, or membranes. Treatment should be considered a last resort. QK will work with you to investigate the options of blending, sealing off zone of high PFAS in an existing well or drilling a new well.
If you have questions on how to treat PFAS in your existing water system and would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact Brian Shoener, Senior Engineer at (559) 449-2400 or Brian.Shoener@qkinc.com.
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