Designing a solution to deliver safe drinking water
Following the 2015 discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the aquifer that supplied drinking water to the Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska, our team was asked to find either an alternative source of groundwater or treatment options to provide safe drinking water.
After exploring different routes, the agreed treatment was to use granular activated carbon (GAC), the same as the existing water treatment plant. Our team investigated available treatment methods and conducted bench scale studies using different types of GAC. This allowed design criteria to be agreed upon for the selected media and the sizing of the equipment. A 35 percent design document was developed for the building and other equipment for procurement and construction, but to allow the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) to issue the permit for construction, the initial process design was developed to 100%. In early 2016, the U.S. EPA revised their long-term health advisory for both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and PFAS and reduced it from 0.2-ug/L each to a combined maximum value of 0.07-ug/L.
The design and operating assumptions were modified with no change to the delivery schedule. The treatment plant was completed in March 2018, treating 1,500 gallons per minute (GPM) of water and reducing PFAS to below detection levels, ultimately ensuring the AFB would have clean, safe drinking water.
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