PFAS Treatment Methodologies
DoD is investing significant resources in research to develop technologies to quantify and clean up PFOS and PFOA and related PFAS chemicals. DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) are working on PFAS treatment methodologies and have developed several approaches for treating groundwater that contains PFOS and PFOA, such as In Situ PFAS Sequestration in AFFF-Impacted Groundwater and In Situ Thermal Treatment of PFAS in the Vadose Zone, which have matured from small-scale laboratory projects to field demonstrations.
For more information on SERDP’s and ESTCP’s efforts on treatment methodologies, including a summary of the in situ and ex situ remedial approaches that are currently being developed, visit: https://www.serdp-estcp.org/Featured-Initiatives/Per-and-Polyfluoroalkyl-Substances-PFASs.
PFASs are highly resistant to biological and chemical degradation, due to the very strong carbon-fluorine bonds. Since options for treatment are limited due to the recalcitrance of these perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), especially PFOS, ex situ treatment with granular activated carbon (GAC) is common. As a result, management of AFFF sites is often very costly, and some of the PFAAs may break through GAC canisters at differing rates. Current research efforts aim to gain a better understanding of the degradation processes and develop new remediation technologies to treat PFASs.