WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Millions in funding is available to expand research on managing a broad group of substances that can have major impacts on the environment, especially in rural areas.
They are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and such PFAS are described as durable chemicals and materials that include oil, water, temperature and fire resistance properties, which make them last a long time in the environment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to help rural and agricultural communities address the issues caused by these substances and devise actions people can take to address them.
"EPA is following through on our commitment under the PFAS Action Plan and the memo to close the gaps in the science around PFAS as quickly as possible by supporting cutting-edge research that will help manage PFAS issues in agricultural and rural economies," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We want to make sure that decision-makers at the federal, state and local levels have the best science available to make informed decisions. These new research grants will help identify potential impacts of PFAs to farms, ranches and rural communities."
Earlier this year, Wheeler issued a memorandum that called for the EPA to prioritize new federal research to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities by generating new scientifically-driven information on PFAS, their potential impacts in agricultural settings, and actions people can take to address them in their communities.
So the EPA is currently seeking grant applications to help improve its understanding of the potential impacts of these substances on water quality and availability in rural communities and agricultural operations.
The EPA is specifically seeking information on PFAS occurrence, fate and transport in water sources that are used in such communities and new or improved treatment methods that are appropriate for small drinking water and wastewater systems, including influents, effluents, and biosolids/residuals.
The EPA says it wants to know how serial biosolids applications impact PFAS concentrations and accumulation over time, what are the impacts of factors like soil type and landscape traits that may influence concentration and accumulation, and how to treat and clean up PFAS from water, soil and biosolids that are used in agricultural settings.
PFAS are man-made chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes.
Under the EPA's PFAS Action Plan, the agency is working to create drinking water standards, cleanup guidance for federal programs, a proposal to sat certain persistent long-chain PFAS chemical cannot be manufactured or imported into the United States, risk assessments for the chemicals to understand potential health impacts, exposure models to understand how the chemicals move through the environment and impact people and ecosystems, enforcement tools, and more.
Grant applications will be accepted through Feb. 11.
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