Postdoctoral position in subsurface contaminant transport modelling at Uppsala University, Sweden

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are extremely persistent, harmful chemicals that have a complex transport behaviour in the environment. To assess risks associated with PFAS migration and the effects of remediation measures at contaminated hotspots, there is a great need for improved process understanding as well as modelling tools to predict PFAS transport in soil-groundwater systems. A promising technique to limit the spreading of PFAS further into the environment and to drinking-water resources is in-situ stabilisation with activated carbon.

In a larger Swedish project about mitigation of PFAS contamination, soil mixing and direct injection of activated carbon for in-situ stabilisation of PFAS are tested at contaminated sites and thereby large datasets of PFAS distribution in space and time including the effects of in-situ stabilization are generated. Modelling of the transport and adsorption processes is an important component for the interpretation and analysis of the results and their implications. However, existing modelling tools for PFAS fate and transport have not been thoroughly tested (in particular, against field data) and are in need of further development with respect to several PFAS-specific processes, such as; adsorption to air-water interfaces in the unsaturated zone, transformation of precursors and competition effects between different PFAS both concerning sorption to material interfaces and to sorbents.

The postdoctor to be employed will work with evaluation and development of modelling tools aimed to better understand the fate and transport of PFAS in the subsurface, and in particular, how this is affected by in-situ stabilisation. Modelling tools that can be relevant include among others MODFLOW-based solute-transport models, Hydrus, COMSOL, TOUGH2 or similar programs. The work will be performed under supervision of Prof. Fritjof Fagerlund at UU and is also a close collaboration with the Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI) and Geological Survey (SGU), where researchers at SGI also participate.

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