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Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are an environmentally persistent group of chemicals that can pose an imminent threat to human health through groundwater and surface water contamination. In this review, we evaluate the subsurface behavior of a variety of PFAS chemicals with a focus on aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) discharge sites. AFFF is the primary PFAS contamination risk at sites such as airports and military bases due to use as a fire extinguisher. Understanding the fate and transport of PFAS in the subsurface environment is a multifaceted issue. This review focuses on the role of adsorbent, adsorbate, and aqueous solution in the fate and transport of PFAS chemicals. Additionally, other hydrogeological, geochemical, ecological factors such as accumulation at air–water interfaces, subsurface heterogeneity, polyfluorinated PFAS degradation pathways, and plant interactions are discussed. This review also examines several case studies at AFFF discharge sites in order to examine if the findings are consistent with the broader PFAS literature. We present the most crucial future research directions and trends regarding PFAS and provide valuable insights into understanding PFAS fate and transport at AFFF discharge sites. We suggest a more comprehensive approach to PFAS research endeavors that accounts for the wide variety of environmental variables that have been shown to impact PFAS fate and transport.


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Soil Systems