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Environmental Firm Langan Takes on ‘Forever Chemicals’

The race to remove PFAS from its remaining industry uses is on—and according to Langan’s Stewart Abrams, must be “a sprint, not a jog.”

In high demand: Abrams is a principal and director of remediation technology at Langan, a national environmental and engineering firm. He leads the consulting firm’s remediation practice, specializing in the treatment of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemical compounds that were used widely in household products—including fire extinguishers—for decades.  

  • It’s an area of expertise that will soon be highly sought after, given the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal earlier this year of drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCL) of 4 parts per trillion (ppt) for both PFOA and PFOS. This will not only affect drinking water but will become an important standard for remediation sites as well.
  • Langan also has clients—including property owners and developers—who focus on the removal of PFAS from contaminated groundwater.

“What’s possible”: “Part of what Langan is doing is focusing on what is possible” regarding PFAS removal, Abrams said.

  • “We’re looking at the treatment of groundwater and drinking water. We’re also working on how to deliver existing and new technologies to site cleanup. We’re going to have to move faster than ever before to bring these technologies to the marketplace. It’s a sprint, not a jog.”

Land remediation: Langan has long worked with property developers, helping them clear land of contaminants before building begins. PFAS issues, however, have changed the game considerably.

  • “Now we’re looking at projects [for clients] where the question is, ‘How do you use water or land that’s been PFAS-contaminated?’” Abrams said
  • “Some companies have legacy contamination at the sites” they want to build on, and solutions aren’t always forthcoming, he continued.

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