Land Contaminated by Historic Use of ‘Forever Chemicals’

Per and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) are a large group of man-made organic compounds that have historically been used in a wide range of day-to-day products including food packaging, cookware, carpets, and clothing. They were also used industrially in substances such as Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFFs) used to suppress and extinguish flammable liquid fires.

PFAS are known as ‘Forever Chemicals’ because they do not degrade easily (if at all) and are therefore present at varying levels within our environment. Many governments have now heavily banned or heavily restricted their production and use.

GRM recently completed an investigation on a site where PFAS had been detected on a previous phase. The site was a former air base adjacent to a disused fire station. A previous phase of ground investigation (GI) on the fire station had identified elevated concentrations of PFAS in made ground, and further investigations showed this extended beyond the phase boundary.

PFAS discharged to land can contaminate soil locally, but it can also be mobilised into adjacent soil, streams and rivers and potentially contaminate groundwater. GRM therefore conducted further testing to confirm the elevated concentrations and delineate where these occurred across the site. The extent of the PFAS contamination was found to be limited and a localised capping solution was recommended. The risk to controlled waters was minimal due to the underlying geology which comprised of cohesive Oadby Till.

Given our experience on this site and the importance of keeping our knowledge up to date, we were recently pleased to welcome Jack Shore from REGENESIS Remediation Solutions Europe to our head office to give a presentation on the remediation of organic compounds in groundwater. Jack covered PFAS, petroleum hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

If you have any development or construction projects, then please get in touch to find out how we can help save both time and costs. Please use your main point of contact at GRM or for new enquiries email or call 01283 551249.