Engaging with wastewater treatment plant staff to consider issues and options
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. Many PFAS break down very slowly and can build up in people, animals and the environment over time. Exposure to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health outcomes.
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are recognized as having an important role in the PFAS cycle. In partnership with a local environmental nonprofit, the Chris Dennis Environment Foundation, a Cornell class is engaging with three wastewater treatment plants that discharge into Cayuga Lake. The team discusses the PFAS issue with WWTP staff, analyze samples and discuss options for how the problem might be better managed.