Project #5269

Understanding the Factors Affecting PFASVariability in the Potomac River Watershed

In Progress
Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Harry Zhang, PhD, PE
Loudoun Water
Integrated Planning & Water Management
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Source & Receiving Waters
Source Water Protection


The overall goal of this study is to understand the factors that affect per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) variability in the Potomac River Basin. Understanding these factors will enable people to interpret new and existing data to answer questions regarding the prevalence and levels of PFAS in this watershed. Assuredly, these challenges in interpreting highly variable PFAS data are common for utilities that utilize surface water nationwide. Thus, this project has been designed to identify sampling approaches, analytical methods, and data analysis methods that will serve as a model for other utilities to build their own monitoring programs to develop actionable PFAS datasets to inform collaborative best management practices and mitigation strategies.

The objective of this research is to identify the factors affecting the presence and variability of PFAS and precursor compounds in the Potomac River to serve as a model for region-wide source water monitoring to inform mitigation strategies.