PFAS Drinking Water Contamination Testing Comes with Unique Challenges

At Eagle Synergistic, we are constantly re-evaluating and improving our methodologies and processes to address industry concerns and trends. When it comes to emerging contaminants, Eagle Synergistic is ever vigilant.

According to the USGS, “Emerging contaminants” can refer to many kinds of chemicals, including medicines, personal care or household cleaning products, lawn care and agricultural products, among others. These chemicals make it into our Nation’s lakes and rivers and have a detrimental effect on fish and other aquatic species. That have also been shown to bioaccumulate up the food web – putting even non-aquatic species at risk when they eat contaminated fish.”

One Emerging Contaminant family making waves in the environmental community in recent years are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).  According to the EPA, “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, facilities using PFAS in production of other goods, airports, and military installations are some of the contributors of PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will continue to partner with other federal agencies, states, tribes, and local communities to protect human health and, where necessary and appropriate, to limit human exposure to potentially harmful levels of PFAS in the environment.”

Studies have indicated that PFAS have accumulated in the blood of people and animals worldwide. Two of the most prominent and persistent PFAS are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). In May 2016, the EPA established a combined PFOS and PFOA drinking water health advisories of 70 parts per trillion (0.070 micrograms per liter [(µg/L]). The EPA has not issued a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for drinking water.

Due to the widespread use of PFAS in industry and consumer goods, and the low laboratory detection requirements, sampling for these compounds comes with a litany of additional challenges. Eagle Synergistic has developed PFAS-specific sampling guidelines to address these concerns and provide quality, reliable data to our clients with minimized risk of cross-contamination.  With these guidelines in place, Eagle Synergistic is uniquely positioned to utilize our Hydraulic Profiling Tool-Groundwater Sampler (HPT-GWS) technology to collect targeted and discrete groundwater samples for your PFAS investigation. Using our upgraded HPT-GWS tooling, it is possible to identify potential migratory pathways and confining intervals in real time as the tool is advanced through the subsurface, while maintaining the ability to collect discrete groundwater samples at any time. If you would like to learn more about our PFAS-specific sampling protocol or how our HPT-GWS tolling can enhance your investigatory and remedial efforts, please contact us at