New Projects Addressing Issues Associated with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)

Projects selected to begin in 2017 are now getting underway. We have several new projects under SERDP and ESTCP developing technologies for remediation of groundwater contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Five projects were initiated under SERDP to develop technologies for treatment of PFASs mixed with chlorinated solvents, and one ESTCP project is developing a treatment train approach.

Dr. Kurt Pennell and his team at Tufts University are investigating a coupled physicochemical and biological system involving sequential in situ barrier walls and recirculating wells. The team will develop highly reactive materials capable of degrading and/or sequestering PFASs and chlorinated ethenes (e.g., PCE, TCE, cis-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride), followed by biological systems to treat chlorinated ethenes and PFAS reaction byproducts. ( Project Web Page)

At the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Lisa Alvarez-Cohen and her team are combining persulfate-based in situ chemical oxidation and bioremediation to treat a mixture of chlorinated compounds, 1,4-dioxane and PFASs in groundwater. By developing a better understanding of the fate of complex AFFF mixtures (rather than individual PFASs) and co-contaminants when chemical oxidation is coupled with biological treatment for the in situ remediation of AFFF-impacted groundwater, this research will lead to remediation approaches that greatly decrease the time and cost required to treat AFFF contaminated soil and groundwater. ( Project Web Page)

Dr. Qingguo Huang and his team at the University of Georgia have initiated a proof-of-concept project in which they are developing a reactive electrochemical membrane system for treatment of PFASs and TCE. The reactive electrochemical membrane system involves a Ti4O7 ceramic membrane or a hybrid membrane made by coating activated carbon fiber on Ti4O7 that serves as both an electrode and a membrane. Results from this project are expected in 2018. ( Project Web Page)

Electrolytic degradation with electrobiostimulation is being developed at Colorado State University by Dr. Jens Blotevogel and his team. This synergistic treatment will be used to treat a mixture of 1,4-dioxane PFASs in a single treatment system: (1) rapid anodic oxidation on novel, dimensionally stable electrode materials, and (2) stimulation of aerobic biodegradation processes via electrolytically generated oxygen and concurrent removal of inhibiting co-contaminants. ( Project Web Page)

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Dr. Chris Higgins and his team at the Colorado School of Mines are studying key fate and transport processes impacting the mass discharge, attenuation, and treatment of PFASs and comingled chlorinated solvents or aromatic hydrocarbons. This research will particularly focus on the release and transformation of polyfluorinated PFASs to the more problematic perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in source zones as well as the impact of commonly employed remediation technologies for co-contaminants on PFAS fate. ( Project Web Page)

A project led by Dr. John Kornuc's team at NAVFAC EXWC, aims to demonstrate a cost-effective in situ treatment train approach to destroy and capture PFASs, thereby reducing contaminant mass and the overall duration and cost of remediation. The treatment approach involves in situ chemical oxidation using thermally-enhanced persulfate in a low-pH environment followed by extraction and granular activated carbon (GAC) sorption. ( Project Web Page)

As these projects progress, look for updates on the project web pages listed in the descriptions above.

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