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Perfluoroalkyl substances in a firefighting training ground (FTG), distribution and potential future release

Baduel, Christine, Paxman, Christopher J., Mueller, Jochen F.
Journal of hazardous materials 2015 v.296 pp. 46-53
concrete, desorption, fire fighting, foams, kinetics, perfluorocarbons, rain, runoff, temperature
The present study investigates the occurrence and fate of 15 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and one fluorotelomer sulfonate from a firefighting training ground (FTG) that was contaminated by intensive use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF). The contamination levels and their spatial and vertical distribution are assessed in the structure. At the surface of the pad, perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) is the dominant PFASs measured, with concentration varying from 10 to 200μgg−1. PFASs were also detected in a concrete core at up to 12cm depth, suggesting the vertical movement and higher transport potential of shorter chain compounds. The estimated mass load of linear PFOS in this specific pad was >300g with a total of 1.7kg for the sum of all PFASs analyzed. The kinetics of desorption of PFOS, PFOA and 6:2FTS from the concrete into an overlaying static water volume has been measured under field conditions at two constant temperatures. Fitting the desorption data and estimated rainfall/runoff to a kinetic model suggests that this and similar firefighting training pads will likely remain a source of PFASs for many decades (t0.5=25 years for PFOS).