Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Paula J Mouser

Second Advisor

James P Malley

Third Advisor

Celia Chen


This thesis explores the story of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in New England wastewater systems. PFAS compounds, known for their environmental persistence, toxic nature, and heavy integration into our daily lives, has recently become an infamous topic in environmental engineering due to the discovery of contaminated agricultural lands, water resources, and food systems. In response to these daunting discoveries, regulators have begun looking to reduce point source pollution of PFAS, including that of wastewater systems and facilities. As conduits of PFAS, wastewater systems funnel PFAS from industrial, commercial, and residential sources and emit them into the environment via aqueous effluent and solid sludges. Considering potential legislative pressure, there is increasing tension to understand PFAS trends and behaviors within wastewater systems including identifying considerable source types in sewer sheds, fractionation of PFAS into solids, transformations of precursor compounds within secondary biological treatment processes, and effect of sludge processing on PFAS transformations and composition. We look to explore these behaviors using a series of PFAS concentration data from wastewater systems across New Hampshire and Vermont in a variety of statistical analyses looking at concentration, composition, and mass flow comparisons. Further work from this analysis, looks to develop a passive membrane sampler to understand PFAS transformations within wastewater systems to better understand transformation pathways encouraged in certain wastewater settings, knowledge vital to the development for PFAS mitigation and regulation strategies.