Written by Parth Trivedi, Staff Reporter

GeoEnviro Pro hosted on webinar on June 5th, 2024 entitled “PFAS from a Legal Perspective”. The speaker for the webinar was Rangi George Jeerakathil, a lawyer from MLT Aikins. Below is a summary of the webinar.

Overview of PFAS Contamination

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in various industries due to their unique properties, such as resistance to heat, water, and oil. However, these chemicals have raised significant environmental and health concerns due to their persistence, bioaccumulation, and potential toxicity.

Sources and Pathways of PFAS Contamination

PFAS can enter the environment through various sources, including manufacturing facilities, firefighting foam applications, and disposal of PFAS-containing products. Once released, PFAS can contaminate soil, groundwater, surface water, and even air. The pathways of PFAS contamination are complex and can involve multiple environmental media.

Challenges in PFAS Remediation

Remediating PFAS-contaminated sites poses significant challenges due to the unique properties of these chemicals. Traditional remediation techniques, such as pump-and-treat systems or soil excavation, may not be effective for PFAS removal. Advanced treatment technologies, such as ion exchange resins, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis, have shown promising results but can be costly and energy intensive.

 Regulatory Landscape and Risk Assessment

The regulatory landscape surrounding PFAS is rapidly evolving, with various jurisdictions implementing guidelines, advisories, and regulations to address PFAS contamination. Risk assessment plays a crucial role in determining the potential impacts of PFAS on human health and the environment, guiding the development of appropriate management strategies.

Case Studies and Lessons Learned

The webinar presented several case studies highlighting the challenges and lessons learned from PFAS remediation projects. These case studies provided valuable insights into site characterization, treatment technology selection, and stakeholder engagement processes.

Conclusion

Addressing PFAS contamination requires a comprehensive approach that considers the unique properties of these chemicals, the complexity of environmental pathways, and the evolving regulatory landscape. Continued research, collaboration among stakeholders, and the development of effective remediation technologies are essential to mitigate the impacts of PFAS on human health and the environment.

The presentation is available online at https://geoenviropro.com/on-demand-courses/geopro-talk-pfas-from-a-legal-perspective/.


About the Webinar Presenter

Rangi George Jeerakathil, a lawyer from MLT Aikins, has broad environmental law experience and advises proponents on federal and provincial environmental assessments, fisheries, water, permitting and contaminated sites issues. He has advised proponents extensively on permitting for industrial projects, including mining projects, and in project decommissioning. Rangi has advised on the environmental and regulatory components of uranium mining and nuclear generation projects.