Pilot study to inform the remediation of PFAS-impacted groundwater and leachate
PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) have been used in aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) since the 1960s. The extensive use of AFFF in fire-fighting applications has contributed to the widespread presence of PFAS in the environment including in soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediment.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), on behalf of the Department of National Defence (DND), needed someone to determine potential treatment options for PFAS in groundwater and leachate at an AFFF-impacted site. They reached out to our team to help.
We worked with Sanexen Environmental Services to conduct a bench scale study and on-site, small-scale pilot test at an AFFF-impacted former fire training area, located on an Ontario military base, to evaluate treatment options for groundwater and leachate impacted by PFAS. Our results indicated short-chain PFAS present the greatest challenges for remediation when using foam fractionation and adsorption-based technologies. We also found that background constituents and the presence of co-contaminants in both the leachate and groundwater treatment streams impacted the adsorptive media’s performance.
At the conclusion of the study and test, PWGSC received recommendations for pre-treatment and a conceptual pilot treatment system design that they can implement in the future.
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