Can PFAS drinking water or soil standards be applied to leachate or co-compost?

No. PFAS sampling results from leachate (liquid coming out of landfills into the ground) or co-compost (leaf/yard waste mixed with municipal solid waste and dewatered sludge (residuals) from the WWTF that are processed through a composter to create biosolids) should not be compared to regulatory or other health-based PFAS standards for soil or groundwater. The risk for each type of media is different, so the standards for one type cannot apply directly to another type. MassDEP is developing screening levels for land application of soil amendments, including biosolids, which would apply to co-compost. FAQs #9 and #10 have more information on the health risk to plants growing in soil with co-compost. Note that co-compost has not been available to the public since August 2019.

To learn more about PFAS risk factors used for national and state drinking water PFAS standards, see the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council’s Basis of PFOA and PFOS Values Tables.

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1. Are there public drinking water standards concerning PFAS?
2. Does MassDEP have a program to support private (domestic) well testing?
3. Does the aquifer that the Island gets groundwater from have PFAS in it?
4. Can I hook up to public water? If Yes, how?
5. Are septic systems or private wastewater treatment within a Zone II aquifer wellhead protection area regulated for PFAS? If so, how?
6. Who is available to perform PFAS Sampling & Testing?
7. Can PFAS drinking water or soil standards be applied to leachate or co-compost?
8. Are private (domestic) wells located below (downgradient of) the landfill impacted by PFAS?
9. Is there a plan to collect PFAS samples from the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) and landfill site?
10. Did Waste Options perform PFAS testing at the landfill in the summer of 2019?
11. Even though 2019 PFAS testing was done with an imperfect method at the time (EPA 537), were the results found concerning?
12. What were the results of the testing of private wells that were sampled by MassDEP/UMass?