Higgins interviewed by Grand Rapids Press about PFAS-contaminated drinking water

Christopher Higgins, associate professor of civil and environment engineering at Colorado School of Mines, was recently featured in a Grand Rapids Press/MLive.com article about a Michigan town whose drinking water may have been contaminated with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Higgins co-authored a 2014 study on the ability of conventional water treatment plants to filter out PFAS, a class of chemicals widely used in industrial and commercial applications since the 1950s.

From the story:

Higgins' 2014 study in the International Water Association journal analyzed the effect different full-scale surface water treatment plants had on PFAS. It concluded that conventional filtration and disinfection technologies are "mostly ineffective."

Reverse osmosis, anion exchange or granular activated carbon treatment systems are needed to remove PFAS. However, "most of the time, people are not going to employ those technologies unless they have to because they can be very expensive," Higgins said.

"Something like chlorine dioxide or any standard drinking water treatment system is not going to remove these chemicals," Higgins said. "If they were present in the surface water before the year 2000, they were likely making their way into finished drinking water."