The client’s proposed 150-acre, mixed-use development is adjacent to an industrial site at which plastics and coatings were used. The adjacent site has been identified by the state as a source of per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination contributing to soil and groundwater impacts. Because PFAS have been identified as a potential hazardous substance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulators, soil and groundwater testing at the site was requested by the state regulatory agency.


GZA prepared a Work Plan for regulatory approval, including the advancement of 30 subsurface explorations using hand-auger, test pit, and direct-push methods to collect more than 80 soil and groundwater samples. GZA field staff employed strict sampling protocols to minimize the potential for cross contamination and false positives.  Sampling protocols included pre-sampling limitations for field staff to minimize exposure to PFAS-containing personal care products, limitations on field equipment that may contain PFAS, and use of a “clean hands, dirty hands” protocol during sampling. Further quality assurance and control included collection of field blanks, equipment blanks, and sample duplicates, as well as use of an internally qualified laboratory experienced in PFAS analyses. GZA’s data summary reports, which indicated the presence of PFAS, were submitted to the state regulatory body. GZA developed a soil management plan and a permit application for construction dewatering to address concerns about PFAS impacts on construction activities.  


GZA’s assessment and reporting capabilities, along with a productive relationship with the local regulator, facilitated the project’s progress. GZA’s focus on practical and economical solutions that limited risk of exposure to construction workers and future residents also limited client obligations during construction.