Article | March 19, 2024

How To Prevent Reintroduction Of PFAS Into The Environment


The recent proposal to classify nine per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) raises questions about how to properly dispose of PFAS-contaminated filtration media. Current handling and disposal procedures for bulk granular activated carbon (GAC) and ion exchange (IX) media involve potential operator exposure to PFAS, which can be absorbed through the skin, contradicting the purpose of removing PFAS from the environment and consumers' bodies. Additionally, incomplete removal of old media can lead to PFAS retention, shortening the media bed's lifespan and increasing the risk of PFAS entering the distribution system. Shipping PFAS-laden media for incineration or landfill poses risks of exposure during transportation, with incineration emitting significant CO2.

Thankfully, not every PFAS removal technology carries the same level of risk. To mitigate them, as well as insulate themselves from future regulatory burdens, water treatment plant (WTP) managers need to understand the limitations of most PFAS removal systems and those that have managed to overcome them.

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Applied Process Equipment, Inc.