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Work with PFAS

I’ve been PFAS’d – What now? An overview of treatment technologies and remedial strategies.

Posted January 31, 2022

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are being detected in water supply sources and wastewater treatment plant influents and effluents nationwide. Those PFAS occurrences are attributable to the ubiquitous and highly mobile nature of the compounds in the environment. Only a handful of states currently have enforceable standards, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and state regulatory agencies are actively developing mandatory PFAS limits pertaining to environmental media. Therefore, options for treatment of PFAS-contaminated water and wastewater are, and will be, crucial for affected industries and municipalities that must comply with future regulations.

PFAS treatment technologies commonly used to remediate water and wastewater include various forms of activated carbon, ion exchange resins, and filtration membranes. Unfortunately, those technologies produce highly concentrated PFAS waste that requires appropriate disposal. The spent adsorbents and membranes are typically disposed in lined landfills or incinerated, neither of which completely destroys the compounds or removes PFAS from the water cycle. Unconventional treatment options — such as pyrolysis, electrophoresis, and electrochemical oxidation — have been shown to completely mineralize PFAS and minimize the need for additional and costly waste disposal.

This presentation outlines the various options for treatment of wastewater and sludge, as well as the limitations and benefits of each. The process of selecting and implementing a PFAS treatment technology for a project that is actively treating millions of gallons of PFAS wastewater will also be discussed.

Brian Green and Paige Coleman, SynTerra Corporation