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Simin Moavenzadeh Ghaznavi

University of Maine, PhD Environmental Engineering

EREF Scholar 2023

This research delves into the behavior of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soil, particularly their movement at the water-soil interface and their effects on landfill liners. PFAS, known as persistent “forever chemicals,” are concerning due to their widespread use and environmental contamination. Landfills often house materials containing PFAS, necessitating effective containment to prevent environmental contamination. The study explores how PFAS interact with landfill liners and develops a predictive model for PFAS presence and permeation rates in the environment. The initial phase emphasizes the significance of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes as barriers against PFAS infiltration. Various landfill geomembranes are assessed for material integrity, PFAS interactions, and PFAS-laden leachate permeation. The study also investigates PFAS adsorption onto soils, particularly clay soils, considering PFAS properties, soil traits, and water chemistry. The research will inform landfill liner design to prevent PFAS leakage, benefiting solid waste management. The developed models will aid in predicting PFAS permeation rates in cases of liner defects, guiding effective remediation strategies. This knowledge will empower solid waste management experts to address PFAS threats to the environment and human health more efficiently. In summary, this research contributes to efforts to mitigate PFAS-related environmental and health risks. It will significantly impact solid waste management practices, especially in liner design and contaminated site management. The predictive model developed will offer valuable insights to experts, helping reduce PFAS-related risks to the environment and human health.


Sonia Moavenzadeh obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering in Iran. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. program in Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine, starting in 2021. Her research is primarily focused on investigating the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, particularly in soil and solid waste management. Through her academic journey, Sonia has developed a keen interest in the issue of landfill liners and their interaction with emerging contaminants like PFAS. In addition to her academic achievements, she actively engages in community service and volunteer work. Sonia serves as a member of the Graduate Student Government Senate within the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of Maine. Looking ahead, Sonia is driven to further expand her knowledge and actively contribute to society in the field of environmental engineering, with a strong commitment to advancing environmental sustainability and protection.