Technical Support on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Policy

PFAS Lab | Technical Support on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Policy

Technical Support on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Policy

Partnering to Develop PFAS Industry Guidance

The American Water Works Association provides support to state water associations and water utilities dealing with community water quality issues that have state and federal implications. Over the past two years, HDR has worked with AWWA to develop drinking water resources for understanding and managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. 

PFAS are synthetic compounds found in a range of products, including non-stick cookware and Class B firefighting foams. More recently, public health concerns have arisen as a result of measured toxicity for specific PFAS, widespread usage of PFAS products and the recalcitrant nature of PFAS in the environment.

Through collaboration with industry experts such as drinking water utilities, state regulators, academic professors and analytical specialists, HDR developed three guidance documents to describe how to conduct a source water evaluation, effective drinking water treatment methods and a summary of current PFAS toxicological research.

A short summary of each guidance document developed is provided below:

  • Drinking Water Treatment for PFAS Selection Guide: Treating chemicals as complex as PFAS can be challenging, due to their unique structural properties. AWWA’s Drinking Water Treatment for PFAS Selection Guide summarizes the key treatment technologies proven in drinking water treatment: granular activated carbon, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and nanofiltration. Risks, benefits and special considerations of each treatment method are discussed, along with strategies for treatment selection, design criteria and validation efforts through bench and pilot-scale testing. Additionally, emerging technologies under investigation are discussed. 
  • Source Water Evaluation Guide for PFAS: This guide was developed to assist water professionals with conducting a source water evaluation to determine presence and extent of PFAS contamination in drinking water supplies. The guide provides information on PFAS analytical methods, point source and non-point source discharges to the environment, and monitoring plan strategies. Additionally, stakeholder outreach is discussed. 
  • Summary of PFAS Toxicological Research:  This summary gives an overview of the current state of toxicological research, along with unknowns related to public health impacts. The summary includes a review of U.S. and international efforts to assess PFAS health risks from a number of agencies. Research gaps, such as toxicity of lesser-known PFAS or mixtures of PFAS, are also discussed. 

We hope that these AWWA PFAS resources will assist AWWA utility members with assessing the risks and mitigation strategies for characterizing and managing PFAS.

PFAS Lab | Technical Support on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Policy