EPA Awards Nearly $5 Million for New Research on Managing PFAS in Agricultural and Rural Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $4.8 million in research funding to three institutions to better understand the potential impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on water quality and availability in rural communities and agricultural operations across the United States. These grant awards build on the agency’s efforts to implement the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern.

“EPA supports cutting-edge research to help agricultural and rural economies better address the potential impact of PFAS on ranches, farms and rural communities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This research helps our colleagues at the federal, state, and local level better understand the exposure risks of PFAS to private drinking water wells. This, in turn, will improve future disposal methods and treatment systems for the chemical.”

The grant recipient teams will look at major sources of PFAS contamination, fate, and transport in rural areas including exposure risks from private drinking water wells and improved wastewater treatment methods to remove PFAS from water and biosolids that may be used for agricultural purposes.

The following institutions received awards:

  • Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., to develop a scalable platform for predicting PFAS occurrence in private wells to improve understanding of exposure risks to rural communities relying on private wells for their drinking water.
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., to investigate the occurrence of PFAS and their concentrations in private drinking wells and water resource recovery facilities in rural communities as well as the relative contribution of PFAS from land-application wastewater and biosolids to rural water supplies.
  • University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., to develop improved, cost-effective treatment systems with advanced technologies for the removal of PFAS from water, wastewater and biosolids to ensure safe water for drinking and agricultural applications in rural areas.

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