From Fighter Jets to Fire Fighters - Investigating PFAS Through Time - Miami Dade College Fire Academy
Lucas Barroso-Giachetti, P.E., CHMM, Senior Environmental Engineer, Terracon
Miami Dade College (MDC) is an educational cornerstone of the South Florida community and the “Fire Academy” has been training local firefighters since the early 1980s. MDC’s North Campus was also once an active Naval Air Station going back to World War II. A site’s proud history of military service and teaching more than two generations of first responders now includes the assessment of “forever chemicals” utilized at different times decades apart in different ways. In response to concerns by the public and the environmental regulatory community, MDC is proactively assessing the existing training facility for their Fire Science Training Program to investigate impacts from historical military operations and fire fighter training which involved the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Terracon completed an initial soil and groundwater assessment in the area historically utilizing AFFF during training exercises and has discovered levels of PFAS in shallow groundwater above the Florida Department of Environmental Protections (FDEP’s) current Alternate Groundwater Cleanup Target Level. The ongoing assessment will provide a better understanding of local and potential regional groundwater impacts at shallow and deeper intervals, potential effects of recent, localized AFFF use in combination with broader historical uses of PFAS-containing materials in military operations and risk-based closure and/or cleanup alternatives for an operating and thriving educational institution.
Lucas is a senior environmental engineer and Department Manager in the Miami Lakes office of Terracon’s South Florida region. Lucas leads Terracon’s Miami environmental services operations including client management and business development, project management and providing senior engineering design services in South Florida and throughout Terracon. A State of Florida licensed professional engineer, Lucas has over 19 years of experience in remediation and environmental consulting. His expertise includes environmental assessments, due diligence, regulatory compliance, solid waste, landfill redevelopment, and related practice areas. He has worked with a diverse array of public and private sector clients with sites ranging from school properties to airports to landfills.