The Department of Defense (DoD) has launched a cohort of prototype projects to demonstrate treatment technologies for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)-impacted media. PFAS are very stable in the environment, due to their unique chemical structure, and are relatively resistant to natural breakdown processes. Spread across three DoD-identified installations, these efforts will demonstrate new technologies targeting these chemicals through a partnership with the DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the Air Force, the Navy, and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). Ten companies have been awarded prototype contracts under this effort.
“ESTCP has partnered with DIU as a way to conduct advanced demonstrations of these prototype projects to address this high-priority issue. With a successful demonstration, these prototypes will be able to provide treatment options for DoD installations impacted by PFAS,” said Dr. Andrea Leeson, ESTCP Deputy Director and Environmental Restoration Program Manager.
Over many decades, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been used to suppress fires. These firefighting substances contain PFAS, and have been shown to migrate into soil and groundwater.
The ESTCP and DIU Environmental Remediation & Restoration from PFAS Initiative combines and compares methods that concentrate and destroy PFAS both on and off-site. The selected projects consist of three discrete actions for PFAS-impacted media: water source remediation, soil treatment, and PFAS destruction.
Water Source Remediation: Three companies will be performing water source remediation work at former Naval Air Station Joint Base (NAS JRB) Willow Grove and nearby Biddle Air National Guard (ANG) Base in Horsham, PA. These companies are Allonnia, Cyclopure, and ECT2.
“The Navy looks forward to continuing our ongoing support of ESTCP research and development efforts to assess, develop, and demonstrate these emerging technologies to treat impacts related to PFAS at former NAS JRB Willow Grove,” said Greg Preston, Director Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Program Management Office, U.S. Navy.
“It is through these types of technology research demonstrations that emerging technologies can become commercialized for broader long-term potential use across Navy’s facilities domestically and abroad,” he said.
Soil Treatment: Three companies will be deploying soil treatment technologies at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. These companies are ASRC Consulting and Environmental Services, Savron Solutions, and TRS Group, Inc.
PFAS Destruction: Four companies will deploy destructive technologies at a DoD-identified site. PFAS-impacted waste from the demonstrations at NAS JRB Willow Grove and Biddle ANG Base will be destroyed at this offsite location. Companies executing on this aspect of the PFAS remediation initiative are Aquagga, Arcadis/374Water/Clean Earth, Battelle, and General Atomics.
Richard (Hunter) Anderson, an environmental scientist at the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center in San Antonio, Texas, is part of the team that will evaluate the cost and performance of the prototypes presented during the projects. Calling the new endeavor “unique,” Anderson said the new partnership-based action plan will help identify the operational constraints of the fielded technologies.
“This represents a major step forward in the effort to provide the DoD with commercial PFAS treatment options for a variety of scenarios,” he said.
The DoD is continuously working to accelerate the treatment and management of PFAS. This prototype effort is part of a series of initiatives happening across the Department to address this issue. For more information on the DoD and ESTCP’s work and commitment to this critical matter, go to https://www.acq.osd.mil/eie/eer/ecc/pfas/news.html and https://serdp-estcp.org/focusareas/e18ec5da-d0de-47da-99f9-a07328558149/pfas-afff.
The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) harness the latest science and technology to improve the Department of Defense’s environmental performance, reduce costs, and enhance and sustain mission capabilities. The programs respond to energy and environmental technology requirements across the military services. SERDP and ESTCP are independent DoD programs managed jointly to coordinate the full spectrum of research and development efforts, from the laboratory to field demonstration and validation. For more information, visit https://serdp-estcp.mil. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.