In 2013, TZW analyses showed first indications of contamination of groundwater in the Rastatt area with perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). In recent years, extensive further investigations have shown that groundwater and soil in Mittelbaden and the Mannheim area are contaminated with these compounds on a large scale. According to current knowledge, the application of compost mixed with paper sludge was a major cause of today's contamination.
Water supply companies that use the groundwater there for drinking water supply are considerably impaired by these contaminations. In some waterworks, additional treatment stages had to be installed. In addition, traces of PFAS were found in agricultural products produced on the polluted areas, such as wheat, asparagus, topinambur and strawberries, which in some cases led to the precautionary destruction of the harvest.
In order to assess the contamination situation, clarify the causes and derive countermeasures, analytical methods that allow a comprehensive characterisation of the contamination are indispensable. The aim of the project, which was funded by the State of Baden-Württemberg, was to further develop the surrogate parameter EOF (extractable organically bound fluorine) and the identification of previously unknown fractions of PFAS in contaminated soils. In order to close the gap between EOF and single substance analysis, detection methods were to be developed especially for those substances that were used in the past in the paper industry.
Since the contamination situation in the Rastatt/Baden-Baden area affects agricultural enterprises, the transfer of selected substances from the soil to plants was also addressed by controlled growth and field experiments.
The current volume 87 of the TZW publication series summarises the results of the 15-month project. An order is possible at a price of 25 Euro via our online order form.