Guide to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Sampling within Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Open-File Report 2024-1001
By: , and 



Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals with a nondegradable fluorinated carbon backbone that have been incorporated in countless industrial and commercial applications. Because PFAS are nondegradable, they have been detected in all environmental media, indicating extensive global contamination. The unique physiochemical properties of PFAS and their complex interactions with environmental matrices create a great challenge for researchers when selecting site-specific sample matrices, sampling logistics, various analytical methods, and data interpretation. The widespread contamination and the potential toxicity of PFAS to human and environmental health have resulted in the proposed designation of two commonly used PFAS as hazardous substances, which may prompt new requirements for reporting, regulatory action, and site cleanup. For researchers involved in natural resource damage assessment efforts, understanding the multifaceted dynamics of the environmental fate and transport of PFAS will be essential for appropriate sample collections, analyses, and data interpretation. This guide aims to provide fundamental concepts and considerations involved with environmental sampling for PFAS during site assessments.

Suggested Citation

Pulster, E.L., Bowman, S.R., Keele, L., and Steevens, J., 2024, Guide to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) sampling within Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2024–1001, 57 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Environmental Fate and Transport
  • Baseline Considerations
  • Response Considerations
  • Ephemeral Data Considerations During Response
  • Restoration Considerations
  • Sampling Techniques and Collection Preparation Considerations
  • Sampling Design Considerations
  • Analytical Methods
  • PFAS Concentrations in Environmental Media
  • Summary and Key Considerations
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Guide to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) sampling within Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2024-1001
DOI 10.3133/ofr20241001
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description vi, 57 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details