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PFAS Chemical Contamination

PFAS Chemicals

Hyde Phase 1 & Phase 2 Consulting Services for PFAS Contamination

Hyde Environmental specializes in Soil, Groundwater, and Surface Water Contamination Assessment and Remediation.

PFAS contamination is commonly found near manufacturing facilities and military bases. Most recently in Wisconsin, PFAS chemicals have been turning up in drinking water in rivers near Marinette and Madison, WI.

Our team of expert consultants works with property owners to conduct Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) to see if your property is following all the regulations set forth by the DNR and EPA.

Headquartered in Germantown, Wisconsin, our consulting firm serves the Midwestern states including Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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What are PFAS Chemicals?

PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s.  Specifically, these substances have been used in non-stick cookware, food packages/fast-food wrappings, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil. PFAS do not occur naturally and are widespread in the environment. PFAS chemicals are found in people, wildlife and fish all over the world.

  • PFAS = a family of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances that contain carbon, fluorine, and other elements PFOS Chemical Contamination
    • PFOS = Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
    • PFOA = Perfluorooctane acid
    • PFHxS = Perfluorohexane acid
    • PFNA = Perfluorononanoic acid

These contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

Hyde Has PFAS Sampling Expertise

PFOA chemical contamination

The Hyde staff has the experience to conduct site investigation services with groundwater, surface water, and soil sampling for PFAS chemicals. Because PFAS contamination must be detected at the parts per trillion level, rather than the parts per billion or parts per million level, special care must be taken during the sample collection process to ensure that contamination from other sources does not occur. Our Hyde contamination experts go through rigorous training for these situations.

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PFAS Health Effects

Scientists are still learning about the health effects that various PFAS can have on the body. The more widely used substances, like PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA, have been studied more than other PFAS.

A large number of studies in people have examined possible relationships between levels of PFAS in blood and harmful health effects in people. However, most of these studies analyzed only a small number of chemicals, and not all PFAS have the same health effects.

This research suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may:

  • Increase cholesterol levels
  • Decrease how well the body responds to vaccines
  • Increase the risk of thyroid disease
  • Decrease fertility in women
  • Increase the risk of serious conditions like high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • Lower infant birth weights; however, the decrease in birth weight is small and may not affect the infant’s health

Several federal agencies are currently in the process of evaluating human health risks of PFAS. Most people in the U.S. have PFAS in their blood, similar to the low levels observed in blood for other industrial compound classes like flame retardants and plasticizers. While a blood test can determine the amount of PFAS in one’s body, there is currently not enough research to determine the level at which one would expect to see health problems.

Evolving PFAS Regulations

U.S. EPA Health Advisory

The U.S. EPA has established cumulative-lifetime health advisories for PFOA and PFOS, which are two PFAS that have been most widely produced and studied, at 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

Recommended Wisconsin Groundwater Standard

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) has sent the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) recommended groundwater standards of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS individually and combined. WDHS continues to work on additional recommendations for other PFAS.

As indicated above, the EPA has a health advisory level of 70 ppt for combined levels of PFOA and PFOS. Both the U.S. EPA health advisory level and the recommended WDHS groundwater standard are set at a level to protect people, including sensitive populations like people who are pregnant and babies, from health effects associated with PFOA and PFOS exposures. The groundwater standard recommended by DHS is based on more recent scientific findings.

Revisions to Wisconsin Surface Water Standard

As part of the effort to protect surface water and public health across Wisconsin, the WDNR plans to work with key public and industry stakeholders, state agencies, the state Legislature, the governor and the general public to update the State’s surface water quality criteria regarding PFAS.

In Wisconsin, PFAS have been detected in drinking and surface water near spill locations and near sources of industrial or manufacturing use. The WDNR seeks to protect humans from the adverse effects of PFAS resulting from contact with or ingestion of surface waters of the state and from ingestion of fish taken from surface waters of the state by creating human health surface water quality criteria for PFOS and PFOA, as well as any other PFAS which the department determines may be harmful to human health. WDNR currently continues to review other states' and federal agencies' guidelines for PFAS in air, soil, water, fish, and wildlife.  

Phase II ESA Report Property Clean Up

Additional information about the WDNR’s current PFAS activities can be found at: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Contaminants/PFAS.html. Federal information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/pfas.

As a first step to investigate different approaches to address a potential PFAS issue, please contact Jim Lindemann, Hyde’s President at his office: (262) 250-1226, or on his cell phone: (262) 227-5878. With deep experience in environmental chemistry and applied hydrogeology, Jim’s technical specialty is identifying and pursuing the best cleanup solutions that can be completed in the shortest timeframe to achieve state-accepted closure at the lowest possible cost. 

Hyde Phase 1 & Phase 2 Environmental Assessments Across the Midwest