Leading the way in PFAS remediation, Ventia played a key role in producing the final report for the study - Improving Measurement Reliability of the PFAS TOP Assay.

Ventia - in collaboration with the National Measurement Institute (NMI), Australian Laboratory Services (ALS) and Eurofins Environment Testing Australia (Eurofins) - was awarded the inaugural Australasian Land and Groundwater Association (ALGA) Research and Development Grant to conduct an inter-laboratory assessment of the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) total oxidisable precursor (TOP) assay.

This significant study provides much-needed research and advice regarding the reliability of the TOP assay and is a substantial contribution to development of the contaminated land industry in Australia and New Zealand. 

The PFAS TOP assay was first developed in 2012 as a method for identifying non-target PFAS and provides a better understanding of the extent of overall PFAS contamination present within a sample.

Quantifying non-target PFAS is important to better understand ongoing sources of chemicals in the PFAS family, including PFOS and PFOA, both at contaminated sites and in the waste industry (sewage treatment effluents, biosolids, landfill leachates). 

The ability to reliably quantify non-target PFAS is an important tool for anyone involved in the long-term regulation, management and remediation of PFAS contamination. Currently the TOP assay has not been adopted as widely as it perhaps could be given a common perception that it is not sufficiently robust to allow quantitative consideration of non-target PFAS in the environmental regulation.

Findings of the project indicate that if standardised laboratory approaches to the application of the PFAS TOP assay in water samples are applied results can be generated that are robust and reliable between laboratories. 

Recommendations from the project will improve interpretation of TOP assay results and strengthen the potential for TOP assay data to be included in regulation as a quantitative tool.

Further, the project references performance criteria proposed within the Heads of EPAs Australia and New Zealand (HEPA) (2018) PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) and provides recommendations to the relevance of this criteria where relevant. 

The research project:

  • Conducted an inter-laboratory study to evaluate the laboratories' methods for the TOP assay
  •  Compared and assessed the participating laboratories' accuracy in the measurement of PFAS before and after application of the TOP assay
  • Developed recommendations for the assessment and application of TOP assay data
  •  Developed performance criteria for national guidance documents.

Ventia would like to thank the project and steering committee members for their hard work, openness and collaborative attitude in successfully completing this much needed project.

Click here to read the full report or click the thumbnail below.