AGC Attending Pennsylvania PFAS Action Team Public Meeting on April 15

As part of Advanced GeoServices’ ongoing efforts to continue servicing clients with PFAS issues, Steve Kirschner will be attending the Pennsylvania PFAS Action Team public meeting on April 15, 2019.  The meeting will discuss:

Image courtesy of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Image courtesy of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

  • PFAS Action Team;

  • MCL update;

  • Toxicological issues;

  • PFAS Pilot Study;

  • Laboratory Instrumentation;

  • Land Recycling Program Regulatory Package

  • Staff Sampling Training

  • Drinking Water Sampling Plan

  • EPA PFAS Action Plan

  • Sources, Impacts, & Water Supplier Needs

  • Township Recommendations

  • Redevelopment of the Willow Grove Site

  • PFAS Management

The Pennsylvania PFAS Action Team was created in September 2018 by Governor Wolf to address PFAS issues within the Commonwealth.  The Action Team is led by the secretaries of Environmental Protection, Health, Military and Veteran Affairs, Community and Economic Development, Agriculture, and the State Fire Commissioner.

Steve Kirschner leads the Montrose Emerging Contaminants Team, which is comprised of professionals that address PFAS issues impacting sampling, remediation, brownfields, water treatment, stormwater, air, laboratory instrumentation, chemistry, toxicology, industrial, water supplier, and municipal issues.  Montrose is able to combine our expertise from various experts nationwide to help our clients address their PFAS issues.  To learn more about the PA PFAS Action Team meeting or to discuss, contact:

Steve Kirschner, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant

USEPA PFAS Horsham, PA Engagement Session

Image courtesy of Carpe Diem! Philadelphia

Image courtesy of Carpe Diem! Philadelphia

Advanced GeoServices, a Montrose Environmental company, attended USEPA's (EPA) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Community Engagement event in Horsham, PA on July 25th.  The all-day event featured panels consisting of Federal, State, local government, community and then a listening session from the public. Common themes from the communities were that PFAS standards are greatly needed and without enforceable standards: 

  1. The public cannot be protected, and
  2. The regulatory communities cannot mandate cleanups.  

The communities with impacted water supplies from the military bases were unanimous in that the Federal Government who contaminated the water supplies should pay for the remediation and any required water treatment, not the residences.  

It was apparent from the event, and Advanced GeoServices’ own experience, that there are major differences in the assistance the public and municipalities were receiving from State and Federal agencies - depending upon what State and EPA Region you were located.  States, such as PA, have taken a low profile in developing PFAS standards and seem to have gotten fewer assistance with medical monitoring, remediation costs and other environmental studies than other states and regions. 

EPA stated there will be a push to have PFAS listed as a hazardous substance under CERCLA. This will then provide the enforcement teeth for Superfund to require investigations and cleanups and go after reimbursement from the polluters. EPA also stated they believe air emissions are a major migration pathway of PFAS and they are working on procedures for air sampling and analytical standards. 

The major water providers, like Aqua PA, are using EPA's Health Advisory Level (HLA) of 70 ppt for PFOA/PFOS.  Tainted water supplies below these limits are not being treated, even though recent toxicological data for PFOA and PFOS suggest these limits (maybe 7 to 10 times higher than they should be) to be considered safe for human consumption.  There are between 2,500 to 3.500 individual PFAS, and only a handful have been studied for toxicological affects. The ones that have (e.g., PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX) all suggest that standards should be closer to 10 ppt.  Probably the most alarming news was how much PFAS contamination is continuing to be discharged through stormwater runoff from these federal military bases and airports into the waterways because of lack of enforceable standards and regulations. 

The science and engineering for understanding and addressing PFAS contamination is still evolving.  Advanced GeoServices and it's sister Montrose companies are actively working on multiple PFAS-related projects.  Montrose senior technical personnel will be attending the next USEPA sessions in Colorado and the following session in North Carolina to stay abreast of this national issue.  

If you have any questions regarding the Horsham event or other #PFAS questions, please contact:

Rick Shoyer
Senior Project Consultant

EPA Boss Calls for “War on Lead”

EPA Boss Calls for War on Lead

The contamination of the Flint, Michigan, drinking water system has increased awareness of the issues associated with childhood exposure to lead which can suppress growth, decrease IQ scores, and lead to convulsions, coma, and death.  The Flint water crisis triggered a nationwide call for water testing – for lead – a substance many thought had been managed with the phasing out of leaded gas and paints. 

On February 15, 2018, USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt convened a meeting of fellow cabinet members and their departments to develop a national strategy to protect children from lead exposure and declared a “War on Lead”.

EPA Boss Calls for War on Lead

Some states are already addressing the issue.  In particular, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is tackling lead contamination by requiring all drinking water system owners (whether public or private) to enhance testing for lead.  To support system owners and to maintain consistency across the state, NJDEP developed a template for a Lead and Copper Sampling Plan that all drinking water systems were required to fill-in and submit to NJDEP for approval before launching the new sampling protocols in 2018.  These templates required system-specific information like water source, water treatment, bulk purchasers, licensed operator(s), standard and alternate sampling sites, sampling method, sampling frequency, testing methods, reporting, public education, and required notices in the event of detected lead levels exceeding drinking water standards. 

One requirement is a system-wide map showing water distribution systems and sampling locations to demonstrate how the entire system is represented by the selected sampling locations.  In NJ, these Lead and Copper Sampling Plans work hand-in-hand with Water Quality Parameter Sampling Plans, which address other potential contaminants based on source-specific constituents and/or site-specific treatment processes.

GPM Associates, an Advanced GeoServices company, has worked with clients, including town-based public water utilities, private water systems supporting mobile home parks, and schools, to develop Lead and Copper Sampling Plans.  Part of the NJDEP process has included correcting NJDEP records regarding actual water treatment and which water sources are associated with each treatment facility.

As with any program which increases the number of samples and sampling frequency, the new sampling protocols have resulted in increased costs for clients to meet the new NJDEP requirements.  GPM Associates, an Advanced GeoServices company, supports clients in exploring where testing can be performed in-house using USEPA-certified equipment, including training clients in the use of the equipment.  In some instances, less than $1,000 in sampling equipment can help clients realize cost-savings in excess of $15,000.

Our experience in NJ can be leveraged in other jurisdictions to assist clients in developing the needed data to demonstrate compliance with Safe Drinking Water Standards relative to Lead, and other possible constituents of concern. 

If you would like to learn more about lead sampling plans and protocols, please contact:

Veronica Foster or Gina Reeve

USEPA Classifies TCE as a Carcinogen

USEPA Classifies TCE as a Carcinogen

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently changed its classification of Trichloroethylene (TCE) from "possible human carcinogen" to human carcinogen in its recently released Toxicological Review of Trichloroethylene (EPA/635/R-09/011F, September 28, 2011). 

The Toxicological Review is provides specific details and rationale for USEPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) pertaining to TCE.  TCE is a chemical widely used by industry and is often found at contaminated sites, including hundreds of Superfund facilities across the country.

Trichloroethylene is a colorless, volatile organic compound.  It is nonflammable and has a sweet odor.  TCE is often used as a solvent to clean metal parts or used to create other chemicals. At one time it was used as a surgical anesthetic.

Trichloroethylene can be released to air, water, and soil.  TCE is a problematic compound in soil and water since it breaks down very slowly and is removed mostly through evaporation to air. However, TCE does breaks down quickly in air, making it very likely that it will be included as a contaminant of concern in future vapor intrusion standards.    

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), "Exposure to moderate amounts of trichloroethylene may cause headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness; large amounts may cause coma and even death. Eating or breathing high levels of trichloroethylene may damage some of the nerves in the face. Exposure to high levels can also result in changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat, liver damage, and evidence of kidney damage. Skin contact with concentrated solutions of trichloroethylene can cause skin rashes.  There is some evidence exposure to trichloroethylene in the work place may cause scleroderma (a systemic autoimmune disease) in some people. Some men occupationally-exposed to trichloroethylene and other chemicals showed decreases in sex drive, sperm quality, and reproductive hormone levels.  There is strong evidence that trichloroethylene can cause kidney cancer in people and some evidence for trichloroethylene-induced liver cancer and malignant lymphoma. Lifetime exposure to trichloroethylene resulted in increased liver cancer in mice and increased kidney cancer and testicular cancer in rats.  It is not known whether children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of trichloroethylene.  Some human studies indicate that trichloroethylene may cause developmental effects such as spontaneous abortion, congenital heart defects, central nervous system defects, and small birth weight. However, these people were exposed to other chemicals as well."

Advanced GeoServices has spent decades working on sites contaminated with TCE.  We have designed many solutions for this complex compound and can help you find a solution for your site.  For more information about trichloroethylene, contact:

Steve Kirchner, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant

Chris Reitman, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant

Updates to PA Land Recycling Program

On August 27, 2016, the PA Bulletin published an amendment to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PADEP) Land Recycling Program (25 Pa. Code, Chapter 250), changing the administration of the Program.  Chapter 25 of the Pa. Code (The Land Recycling Program) was created to implement standards to clean up soil and/or groundwater contamination from releases of various toxic chemicals.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

The new amendments update the Medium-Specific Concentrations (MSCs) that are a part of the State-Wide Health Standards.  These updates provide clear information on the acceptable level of contamination at a site based on the intended use of the property, and provide a uniform endpoint to the remediation process.  Each site will have specific MSCs for each contaminated substance based on toxicological health risk:

1) specific constituents in groundwater at points of compliance,
2) specific constituents in soil, where there may be direct contact through ingestion or inhalation, and
3) specific constituents in soil that may leach into groundwater.

These amendments will help further promote the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites and bring these sites back to productive use for their communities.

To learn more about these regulations or to discuss your brownfield site, contact:

Chris Valligny, LSRP
Project Professional

Bernie Beegle, PG, CPG
Senior Project Professional

Drinking Water Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS

Drinking Water Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS

Man-made chemicals Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) were commonly used in the manufacturing process years ago, but have been phased out due to potential health risks.  PFOA has been linked to many diseases, including thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and some cancers.  However, these compounds still persist in many drinking water supplies because of the strong carbon-fluorine bond.  

In response to these chemicals being identified in many regional water supplies, USEPA has issued a new health advisory to address these potentially harmful chemicals .  The agency “issued a lifetime drinking water health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for human exposure to the manmade chemical,” per Albany’s Times Union.

To read more about contamination guidelines visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.

If you would like to discuss this issue, please contact:

Rick Shoyer

New Water Protection Rule

The USEPA has issued its long awaited new rules under the Clean Water Act.  An extension public comment period preceded these new rules that look to further protect the quality of the nation’s waters.  As with most federal regulations, various parties differ on the appropriateness of the new rules.  Some calling it a shameful power grab by the federal government while others hailing it as much needed regulations to protect an invaluable national resource.  These rules will have significant impacts on future land development. Click here for more information.

new protection water rule

If you have questions about this rule or would like to discuss how this may affect your project(s), please contact:

Chris Reitman, P.E.
Senior Environmental Engineer

Dan Wright, P.E.
Senior Civil Engineer