Lee Ferguson helps identify sources of PFAS in the Haw River

On August 1, the City of Burlington reached a settlement with the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Haw River Assembly to control PFAS contamination of the Haw River from the city’s wastewater discharges. Lee Ferguson worked with both groups to identify the major upstream sources of PFAS into wastewater and the river. Dr. Ferguson used advanced analytical methods, including total oxidizable precursor assay, to identify measurable PFAS and their precursors and to tie those PFAS to the city’s industrial sources. The method mimics the natural degradation process that occurs in the environment (e.g., with exposure to sunlight) and within waste treatment systems at much faster rates to identify the full spectrum of PFAS present, including precursors.

Dr. Ferguson presented some of this research at the American Chemical Society’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco on August 15. His talk is titled “Colloidal PFAS in textile manufacturing wastewater: A novel class of nanoparticulate emerging pollutant”.