CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA), a marine environmental consulting and survey company, through its subsidiary CSA Ocean Sciences (Trinidad) Ltd. (CSA Trinidad), today announced the successful completion of an onshore environmental survey (OES) program on the south coast of Trinidad. As part of the OES program, CSA conducted Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) at an onshore marine terminal and its immediate surroundings located at Guayaguayare, Trinidad. The Phase I ESA was conducted in Q1 2022 to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) and possible evidence of contamination at the terminal in relation to the storage, use, and historical releases of perfluoroalkyl and/or polyfluoroalkyl, collectively referred to as PFAS compounds.
PFAS compounds are made up of carbon and fluorine atoms linked together, and because the carbon-fluorine bond is one of the strongest chemical bonds, these compounds degrade very slowly in the environment. These substances can therefore bioaccumulate in people and animals over time and are a cause for concern because they are linked to a myriad of adverse health conditions. Interestingly, PFAS compounds are a large, complex, and ever-expanding group of manufactured chemicals that are widely used to make various products that can be found in many everyday items, including cookware, clothing, and stain resistant fabrics.
The complex nature of PFAS also makes them particularly challenging to analyze. However, since 2010, analytical methods sensitive enough to detect environmentally relevant concentrations of PFAS have become widely available, which allow the detection of these compounds at limits as low as 1 ng g-1. Although the analyte list continue to expand, currently available methods still only allow identification of a small fraction of the thousands of PFAS that have reportedly been created and used since the 1950s.
CSA’s report for the Phase I ESA Report included recommendations for a Phase II ESA for further sampling and analysis of receptors to determine possible PFAS contamination and concentrations. The Phase II ESA was conducted in May 2022 and included an assessment of PFAS concentrations from onshore soil, water, and sediment, which were collected from observation ponds, drainage channels, and a nearby river. Samples were analyzed for 33 PFAS compounds and concentrations were compared to available PFAS guidelines and applicable standards to assess potential impacts to receptors.
Prior to sampling, CSA designed a rigorous sampling and analysis plan and, during the Phase II ESA, implemented its robust quality control/quality assurance program for handling, storage, and processing of soil, sediment, and water samples. The execution of the sampling program was conducted in accordance with the relevant sampling guidelines listed in the California State Water Quality Control Board’s Per- and Poly fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Sampling Guidelines for Non-Drinking Water (California State Water Quality Control Board, 2020), guidelines recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and relevant laboratory guidelines.
“The successful completion of this sampling program was certainly made possible because of our experienced operations sampling team, who adhered to carefully designed quality control procedures, fabricated custom designed sampling equipment to avoid cross contamination of samples, and carefully reviewed available laboratory methods,” commented Ms. Hema David, Project Manager for the OES Program, CSA Trinidad. “We are very pleased to have delivered this high-quality environmental assessment and look forward to new opportunities to work in coastal and onshore marine areas.”
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