PFAS Primer

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 6:30pm-8:00pm EDT
Event format: 
Virtual / Online
Posted by Joshua Marteny


In this meeting, we will have an introductory presentation on PFAS by expert Dr. Dora Chiang, Vice President and Remediation Practice Leader at engineering firm CDM Smith ( This topic should be of interest to all ChE’s and especially those involved in drinking water and intake water for pharma and food & beverage plants. The registration information for this Zoom meeting is provided below. The meeting will be hosted by Peter Kabatek, Susquehanna Section Chair.


  • 6:30 – 6:45 pm   Introductions, Peter Kabatek and Attendees
  • 6:45 – 7:45 pm   Speaker, Dr. Dora Chiang (pictured)
  • 7:45 – 8:00 pm   Q&A, Feedback and Concluding remarks


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including 4,000 or more compounds in the global market, are anthropogenic chemicals that do not occur naturally. They had or have been used to manufacture industrial, household and personal products such as fluoropolymers, fluororepellents and fluorosurfactants (e.g., aqueous film forming foam [AFFF]) for about six decades. PFAS’s global occurrence in the environment and their potential adverse impact to human health began to be documented and have been more frequently talked about since late 1990s. They are different from other emerging contaminants not just because they include a large group of fluorinated chemicals, but also because they have unique physical and chemical properties. If humans ingest PFAS, they can accumulate in and remain in the body for long periods of time and may cause adverse health effects. In 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS individually and in combination. PFAS studies show that increased exposure to high concentrations can be harmful. As more PFAS are identified at trace levels and have been detected in most PFAS sources (e.g., firefighting practice areas, manufacturing facilities, landfills, agricultural areas/livestock, wastewater effluents and biosolids), protecting drinking water and breaking down human exposure pathways to PFAS impacted waters become the top priority of all agencies. USEPA put together a PFAS Summit in May 2018 and hosted Community Engagement Meetings across the nation since June 2018. USEPA released their PFAS action plan in 2019 that targets to guide federal, state, tribes, industry groups and local communities on investigating, mitigating and communicating PFAS. In this presentation, we will provide an overview on PFAS properties, their major sources, regulatory status (including USEPA PFAS action plan), the known and potential health impact, sampling and analysis, treatment technologies and what are on the horizon of PFAS research and development.

Speaker Bio:

Dora Chiang is Vice President and Practice Leader for PFAS and Emerging Contaminants at CDM Smith. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and has over 25 years of consulting experience in the areas of contaminated site investigation and remediation. She works on PFAS characterization, forensics, treatment, destruction technology development and site conceptual site model development since 2012. She provides PFAS consulting to all types of clients including drinking water, wastewater, landfills and contaminated sites. Dora has been principal investigator of multiple research and development projects to develop innovative treatment solutions for emerging contaminants 1,4-dioxane and PFAS. Dora is also the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) PFAS team training subgroup co-lead and an active member of PFAS remediation subgroup.

Zoom Meeting Registration Information: 

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.