Dutch water boards to tackle PFAS at the root
The Dutch water boards and Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management plan to tackle PFAS at the source by finding out where discharges come from and stopping them there, NOS reports.
A study by water board knowledge center STOWA and the Ministry at eight sewage treatment plants found high concentrations of PFAS not only at installations that process a lot of industrial water but also at installations that only treat domestic wastewater. The PFAS concentrations ranged between 10 and 100 nanograms per liter. That is much less than other contaminants, but PFAS can be dangerous at very low concentrations.
PFAS stands for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances. It's a collective name for about 6,000 artificial substances found in things like non-stick coatings of cookware, clothing, pizza boxes, and extinguishing foam, among many more. These substances take super long to degrade, accumulate in organisms and are often toxic.
"The solution is at the source, not at the back," the Union of Water Boards said. The union wants to critically examine all existing and new discharge permits.
"This research shows once again that PFAS are everywhere," Michiel Jonker, an environmental toxicologist at Utrecht University, said to NOS. "PFAS are made to escape everything; in terms of purification, it slips through everything. You simply can't get rid of it. All the more reason to stop production."