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Occurrence and Community Impacts of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in North Carolina

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Monday, April 12, 2021 3:00pm

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This is a past event.

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Professor Detlef Knappe, North Carolina State University, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Abstract: Some of the nation’s highest concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) occur in the Cape Fear River basin of North Carolina (NC). This watershed is the largest in NC and serves as a source of drinking water for about 1.5 million people. In addition to commonly studied perfluoroalkyl acids, a range of perfluoroalkyl ether acids (PFEAs), including GenX, have been identified. PFEAs are byproducts generated during the manufacture of fluoropolymer building blocks. A fluorochemical manufacturer located in the central region of the watershed released PFEAs into the air and into surface water for almost four decades. PFEA levels in a 2015 sample of Cape Fear River water at the drinking water intake for Wilmington (NC) and surrounding communities exceeded 100,000 ng/L, and PFEAs passed through water treatment plants unabated. For the majority of the PFEAs, which were identified by high-resolution mass spectrometry, no information was available about their toxicity, environmental behavior, and removal by water treatment processes. In this presentation, I will describe the impacts of PFEA contamination on NC communities, responses by the NC Departments of Environmental Quality as well as Health and Human Services, and results of ongoing research projects designed to develop the science needed to reduce exposure and answer community questions.

Bio: Detlef Knappe is the S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NC State University. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he joined the NC State faculty in 1996. He is the Deputy Director of NC State’s Superfund Center “Environmental and Health Effects of PFAS” and is a member of the Center for Human Health and the Environment.

Dr. Knappe is interested in drinking water quality and treatment, water reuse, organic micropollutants, development of water treatment processes for polar and persistent organic pollutants, and the fate of organic pollutants in solid waste landfills. He is a Trustee of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) Water Science and Research Division, and he is a member of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board. He serves as Associate Editor for AWWA Water Science. He also serves on the AWWA’s Organic Contaminants Research Committee and the Standards Committee for Activated Carbon.

Detlef Knappe and his students have been the recipients of numerous best paper, best poster, and best thesis awards. He is a recipient of the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award, the Bill Horn Kimley-Horn Faculty Award for excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching and other accomplishments at NC State University, and the Young Civil Engineer Achievement Award from the University of Illinois.


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Angela Keranen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. 

Topic: Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar
Time: Apr 12, 2021 07:00 PM Universal Time UTC

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