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Emily Cook

Graduate Student
UC Berkley

Emily Cook is a third-year PhD student in Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, studying groundwater remediation under Professor Lisa Alvarez-Cohen in her environmental microbiology laboratory and collaborating with Professor David Sedlak. Emily received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas (KU) in 2015 and her M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley in 2016.


Bench-Scale Studies on the Efficacy of In Situ Chemical Oxidation of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in a Contaminated Aquifer

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are defined by their numerous short, stable carbon-fluorine bonds. The fully fluorinated alkyl chain is resistant to hydrolysis, thermolysis, and chemical attack, all desired traits in industrial and consumer applications but challenging for subsequent remediation. Due to their stability and surfactant properties, PFASs are key ingredients in aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), which have been used to extinguish hydrocarbon fuel fires at airports and military bases since the 1960s. Consequently, PFASs from AFFFs contaminate groundwater across the country, posing a public health risk as various perfluoroalkyl acids have been proven to be toxic and bioaccumulative. There are few studies looking at remediation of PFAS plumes. I will discuss a collaborative demonstration project between UC Berkeley, SERDP, ESTCP, and Geosyntec at a naval air station in Jacksonville, FL, where we will be testing heat-activated persulfate in situ chemical oxidation coupled with ex situ adsorption to eliminate PFASs.

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