Emerging Contaminants Summit

Spring 2020

burkeMichael Burke
Langan Engineering

Michael Burke is a Principal at Langan Engineering and Environmental Services whose practice involves site investigation and remediation, transactional due diligence, environmental site assessments, solid and hazardous waste management, in-situ remedial technology, vapor intrusion investigation and mitigation, emergency response, environmental and geotechnical site investigations, and health and safety monitoring. He specializes in remediating underutilized brownfield sites in urban environments on an expedited timeframe. 

Rutgers University, M.S. Environmental Geology, 2009

Rutgers University, B.S Geological Sciences/Environmental Sciences, 1997



PFAS Considerations While Performing Environmental Due Diligence

The objective of the Phase I ESA ASTM Standard and USEPA AAI Final Rule is to identify the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substance or petroleum products in, on, or at a property.  Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are not considered CERCLA hazardous substances; however, states recently adopted amendments to their list of hazardous substances to include PFAS, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt), and are considering the addition of several others.  While remediation standards have not yet been promulgated, recent high-profile discoveries of “emerging” contaminants in sensitive locations, such as the detection of PFOA in the public water supply of Hoosick Falls, have provoked a flurry of state legislative and regulatory responses. Most notably, New York enacted legislation providing the Department of Environmental Conservation with the authority to require investigation or remediation of any solid waste disposal site containing substances designated by the state as emerging contaminants, where such contaminants threaten to enter drinking water supplies. Regulations and legislative action is also moving ahead in a number of other states to regulate PFAS as a hazardous substance and establish groundwater and drinking water standards.   Vermont, for example has forayed into the imposition of retroactive liability for release of a previously untargeted class of chemicals, by making any person who had released PFOA resulting in contamination of drinking water supplies responsible for the costs of subsequently necessary extensions of municipal water lines. Given these developments, this talk will offer insights as to whether and to what extent emerging contaminants must be considered to satisfy transactional due diligence and what are the potential liabilities for a user/consultant who fails to evaluate these substances when completing a Phase I environmental site assessment.




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