Earlier this year, the Department of Defense updated its quality systems guidelines for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In May, the Battelle Norwell Laboratory became the second analytical laboratory to be accredited for PFAS analysis in solids and non-potable water under the new standard.
The most recent edition of the DoD Quality Systems Manual, QSM 5.1, included a number of changes in the technical standards and quality systems for PFAS analysis. The DoD released the updated QSM in January 2017. Battelle received accreditation for PFAS analysis on May 26 under the DoD Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). The ELAP accreditation indicates that the laboratory has met the rigorous DoD quality control standards for PFAS analysis in solids and non-potable water under QSM 5.1 Table B-15. These standards outline specific quality processes for sample preparation, instrument calibration and analysis when working with PFAS.
Battelle has provided environmental services to the DoD for decades, including environmental monitoring, remediation and restoration at U.S. Army and U.S. Navy sites. In November 2016, Battelle was awarded ELAP accreditation for testing of specific analytes in soil, sediment, water and tissue matrices, including organochloride pesticides, PCB congeners, and PAH. The new PFAS accreditation further expands the scope of work Battelle is able to provide for DoD clients.
PFAS is a growing concern on many military bases and industrial sites. PFAS compounds have long been used in firefighting foams, water- and stain-resistant materials, non-stick cookware, food wrappers and many other consumer products. PFAS has been found in groundwater in communities surrounding military bases where firefighting foams were used in training exercises. Emerging research on its toxicity and environmental persistence has raised new concerns about PFAS exposure in these communities. These concerns have made accurate PFAS analysis a priority for the DoD.
Battelle provides ongoing support for several U.S. Navy sites contaminated with PFAS, including the former Navy base at NAWC Warminster. In addition to analytical capabilities, Battelle provides field sampling and site characterization services, remedy selection and optimization, risk assessment and long-term monitoring. Battelle researchers are currently working on development of a passive sampler for accurate detection of trace levels of PFAS in groundwater, surface water and sediment pore water. Battelle is also working to better understand the fate and transport of PFAS in the environment.