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Aquatic Risk Characterization

Evaluating the risks to aquatic life nearby following a business park fire loss with PFAS present

  • Ontario, Canada

    Ontario, Canada

With no guidelines for aquatic life, this PFAS assessment required thorough study, research, and previous data collection

When fire broke out at an industrial business park in Ontario, firefighters rushed to the scene where they used aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS to help knock down the blaze. When the fire was out, AFFF entered the park’s stormwater drainage system and was eventually discharged into a nearby creek.

Our client, an insurance provider, needed to assess the liability exposure resulting from the fire, including impact on the environment, surface water, sediment, and soil. To help manage the loss, our team conducted an aquatic risk characterization in the surface water and sediment. We conducted an evaluation of risk for multiple contaminants. The challenge? No guidelines for aquatic life existed for several of the PFAS parameters that were measured. So, we looked to science. Our team studied peer-reviewed scientific literature on the impacts of PFAS on aquatic sites. We used this research in conjunction with a comparison of background levels as well as our own collected data.

In this way, we completed a risk characterization of the impacted areas followed by sampling on a semi-annual basis at the request of the provincial regulatory agency.

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