Incorporating perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) into a geochemical index for improved delineation of legacy landfill impacts on groundwater

Hepburn, E, Northway, A, Bekele, D and Currell, M 2019, 'Incorporating perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) into a geochemical index for improved delineation of legacy landfill impacts on groundwater', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 666, pp. 1198-1208.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Incorporating perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) into a geochemical index for improved delineation of legacy landfill impacts on groundwater
Author(s) Hepburn, E
Northway, A
Bekele, D
Currell, M
Year 2019
Journal name Science of the Total Environment
Volume number 666
Start page 1198
End page 1208
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier BV
Abstract Historical, or legacy landfills are commonly unlined and can therefore pose risks to human health and the environment via the discharge of leachate to sensitive groundwater and surface waters. Characterising the impacts on groundwater from legacy landfills located within urban re-development precincts is therefore of growing importance worldwide and is difficult using conventional indicators. At Australia's largest urban re-development precinct, Fishermans Bend, seven known legacy landfills exist, as well as numerous other contamination sources (e.g. historical industrial spillages). Conventional landfill leachate indicators (e.g. ammonia-N and bicarbonate) and perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) were measured in 36 bores to distinguish leachate-impacted groundwater from non-impacted areas. Whilst eleven bores showed clear leachate impacts based on conventional indicators, others did not show clearly identifiable leachate signals, particularly those installed near landfills thought to have accepted a larger component of non-putrescible waste (e.g. industrial, construction and/or demolition waste). A new index for detection of legacy landfill leachate impact on groundwater was therefore developed, incorporating perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) as a proportion of PFAA (PFOA/∑PFAA) into an existing method based on leachate to native cation ratios, (L/N ratios). Significant differences between the means of the leachate-impacted versus non-impacted bores were found using the modified L/N ratio (p = .006), whereas no significant differences were found between the means of the two groups using the standard L/N ratio (p = .063). The modified L/N ratios also showed a statistically significant difference between the means of the bores impacted by municipal waste versus those impacted by non-putrescible waste (p = .003), indicating they are a much more sensitive indicator of both the existence and type of landfill leachate impact on groundwater than previously reported. This new index
Subject Hydrogeology
Keyword(s) Contamination
Groundwater
Legacy landfills
PFAS
Urban re-development
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.203
Copyright notice © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN 0048-9697
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