PFAS Analytics and Treatment

Topical Collection on PFAS Analytics and Treatment


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse class of compounds. For a system treating for PFAS, the foremost question is: what PFAS need to be removed and to what level? In the last few years, many states have promulgated regulatory limits for select PFAS. However, the extent of PFAS occurrence in environmental waters is unknown, and there is economic and public pressure to install treatment systems that can remove additional PFAS that may be regulated in the future. To this end, robust analytical methods and knowledge of treatment efficacy across a wide breadth of PFAS are needed. 

The purpose of this topical collection in AWWA Water Science is to capture the present state of the science on PFAS analytical methods and approaches to PFAS treatment and disposal.

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This topical collection provides a forum for improving our understanding of the challenges and solutions related to PFAS analytical methods and treatment. This collection also aims to capture any remaining knowledge gaps to chart a course for future PFAS research. Ultimately, we want to galvanize an overarching concept of what testing data are needed for a given water system, and to set the stage for future research. In addition to general research topics related to the state of the science of PFAS analytics and treatment, topics may include: 

  • Occurrence of PFAS in source waters and wastewaters 
  • Novel detection / sensor approaches or devices 
  • Novel analytical approaches 
  • Fate and transport of PFAS 
  • Long-term costs of treatment technologies 
  • Comparative assessment of treatment technologies 
  • Effectiveness of novel treatment technologies 
  • Treatment of residuals streams 
  • Effects and co-removal of other contaminants during PFAS treatment
  • Regulatory requirements and compliance 
  • Unintended consequences of treatment selections 
  • Socioeconomic aspects of residuals disposal 
  • Communications and outreach 

Michelle Crimi, Guest Editor
Michelle’s research focuses on developing in situ treatment technologies for groundwater contamination, determining the impact of groundwater technologies on aquifer quality, and integrating treatment technologies for optimized risk reduction. She has been the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on several research projects focused on treating emerging contaminants, funded primarily by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. Her projects are often conducted in partnerships with industry and consulting organizations and often have a strong technology transfer focus with the objective of moving technologies from the laboratory to full-scale adoption by developing guidance, tools, protocols, and workshops to support field application. 

Michelle earned her B.S. at Clarkson University, her M.S. from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines. She is presently a professor and director of Engineering & Management at Clarkson University. 


Thomas F Speth, Guest Editor
Thomas has worked in the field of water-treatment research at the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) since 1986. He has served as Trustee for AWWA's Water Quality & Technology Division, associate editor of Journal of Environmental Engineering, and as a member of Journal AWWA’s editorial advisory board. He is currently serving on AWWA’s Water Science and Research Division as Past Chair. At USEPA, he has served as branch chief of the Treatment Technology Evaluation Branch from May 2005 to January 2009. From January 2009 to March 2018, he served as division director of the Water Supply and Water Resources Division. During this time, from September 2015 to December 2016, he had a detail with Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water’s Standards & Risk Management Division as a senior engineering advisor assigned to the Flint Enforcement Team under the 1431 Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order. Since March 2018, he has been serving as the associate director for Science at USEPA, where he is leading efforts on PFAS treatment, lead in drinking water, and small drinking water systems. 

Tom earned his B.S and M.S. from Michigan Technological University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. He is presently the associate director of the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response at the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Zaid K. Chowdhury, Associate Guest Editor
Zaid is Garver’s Water Treatment Practice Leader. In his more than three decades of work in the water industry, he has worked extensively to help many water utilities study, design, and troubleshoot water treatment processes. As a consultant to USEPA, he played an important role in the development of various drinking water regulations including the Disinfection Byproducts Rule and Arsenic Rule. Zaid is actively involved as a volunteer with AWWA, serving as chairs or members of various committees, as a past trustee of the research division, and as a member of Technical Advisory Workgroup for the AWWA Government Affairs Office. Zaid is also actively involved with the Water Research Foundation, serving as members of various advisory committees and leading more than a dozen of research projects. He has presented and published many scientific papers, book chapters, and books on the water treatment topic. 

Zaid earned his undergraduate civil engineering degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona.  


Eric Dickenson, Associate Guest Editor
Eric is a project manager for the Water Quality and Research and Development section at the Southern Nevada Water Authority. He has more than 20 years of experience in the treatment of traditional and emerging chemical contaminants. His recent research, peer-reviewed publications, and invited presentations have focused on the occurrence and treatment of PFAS in drinking water, wastewater, and potable reuse applications. Eric has led as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on multiple PFAS-focused projects funded by The Water Research Foundation, Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, US Department of Agriculture, and US Environmental Protection Agency. He recently served on the National Water Research Institute’s independent advisory panel that provided guidance for direct potable reuse regulations for the State of Colorado. 

Dickenson received a BS in chemical engineering from the University of California, Davis, and an MS and PhD in civil engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  


Jennifer Guelfo, Associate Guest Editor
For the past 10 years, Jennifer’s research has focused on PFAS in the environment. She is the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on projects related to PFAS occurrence, fate, and treatment of PFAS in landfill leachate, wastewater, and firefighting foam-impacted soil and groundwater funded by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Water Resources Foundation. In addition to academia, Jennifer also has a combination of consulting and industry experience, and she uses this background to engage in activities that can inform policy and bridge gaps between research and practice. 

Jennifer earned her BA degree in geology at the College of Charleston, her MS and PhD degrees from the Colorado School of Mines, and she completed a postdoctoral appointment at Brown University. She is an assistant professor in the Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Department at Texas Tech University.  


Detlef Knappe, Associate Guest Editor
Detlef has conducted research in the field of water quality and treatment for more than 30 years. Ongoing research focuses on developing analytical methods for the characterization of water quality and evaluating/developing treatment approaches for the control of organic contaminants. At North Carolina State University, Detlef is a member of the Center for Human Health and the Environment and deputy director of the Superfund Research Program’s Center for Human and Environmental Health Effects of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). Detlef is a member of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board (convened by the Secretaries of the North Carolina Departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services) and serves as trustee of the Water Science and Research Division of AWWA. 

Detlef earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is presently the S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University.  


Andrea Leeson, Associate Guest Editor
Andrea has been the deputy director of Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program since 2014 and the program manager for Environmental Restoration since 2001. Before that, she was a research leader at Battelle Memorial Institute, where she conducted scientific research on in situ bioremediation and the design and implementation of innovative biological, chemical, and physical treatment technologies for site remediation and industrial wastewater. 

Andrea received her PhD degree in environmental engineering from John Hopkins University.  




Jinxia Liu, Associate Guest Editor
Jinxia’s current areas of research focus on developing analytical methods for emerging pollutants, such as PFAS and microplastics, the environmental fate of organic contaminants in natural and engineered systems, and the development of in-situ and ex-situ remediation technologies for PFAS. Her research team is also working on developing next-generation water treatment technologies. Jinxia has served as the principal investigator on dozens of research grants and contracts focused on PFAS in the United States and Canada, with many projects conducted in close collaborations with governmental agencies and private industry. Since 2019, she has been leading a team to develop standardized methods for the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to allow comprehensive PFAS profiling of environmental matrixes impacted by aqueous film-forming foam. She has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers and several governmental reports. 

Jinxia earned BS and MS degrees in environmental engineering from Tianjin University, China, and her PhD degree in agronomy (specialization in environmental chemistry) from Purdue University. She is currently an associate professor of civil engineering, a Chwang-Seto Faculty Scholar, and the director of the Brace Center at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. 


Deadline for submissions to be included in the topical collection is May 10, 2021. 

The submission window for inclusion in the topical collection is now open. Please identify the submission as part of the collection in the manuscript’s cover letter. Also, please be sure to select Emerging Contaminant Article as the manuscript category at submission. 

For submission requirements and other journal policies, please refer to the Author Guidelines.

To submit a manuscript, please use the AWWA Water Science manuscript submission system.