The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) formed a workgroup in spring 2019 to evaluate the potential for environmental contamination in Utah from Per- and Polyfluoroakyl Substances (PFAS).
PFAS are used in many consumer products and industrial processes to repel oil, water and grease, reduce friction, and resist temperature extremes. These compounds do not break down in the environment and have been found in groundwater, drinking water, and soils in many areas of the United States. While Utah has never produced PFAS compounds, their use in industrial processes, firefighting foams, and consumer products create the potential for contamination in the state.
DEQ recruited technical and regulatory experts to serve on a PFAS workgroup to ensure comprehensive evaluation of potential PFAS contamination in Utah. The current workgroup includes representatives from DEQ’s Divisions of Water Quality, Environmental Response and Remediation, Waste Management and Radiation Control, Drinking Water, and Communications, and the Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology.
The workgroup compiled the available information regarding potential sources of PFAS in Utah. This included:
- Potential PFAS compounds, including legacy PFAS and newer compounds
- Current analytical methods for measuring PFAS
- Locations of potential significant PFAS releases in Utah, including areas where aqueous film-forming (firefighting) foams are/were applied repeatedly or industries that use significant quantities of PFAS in their process or products
- Other potential exposure sources
Once probable sources are identified, the workgroup will prioritize sampling locations to assess whether PFAS is being released currently or was released in the past. Sampling locations will initially be prioritized by the potential for human exposures. These recommendations will be documented in a Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) scheduled for completion in fall 2019.
For more information regarding the workgroup or PFAS in Utah, please contact Ben Brown.