Treatment of PFAS at Industrial Facilities

John Cuthbertson

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a class of emerging contaminants composed of more than 3,000 man-made, fluorinated, organic chemicals (Buck, et al., 2011, Wang, et al., 2017). The actual number of chemicals is constantly changing, as some PFAS are no longer produced due to regulatory and voluntary actions, while new ones are created as alternatives. Due to their unique chemical properties, PFAS were commercially used in many industries worldwide for a wide variety of applications since the late 1940s. Various state regulatory agencies have conducted or are in the process of sampling industrial effluent steams going to wastewater treatment Plants (WWTPs) or surface water bodies for PFAS. Additionally, agencies have also requested industrial and manufacturing facilities to add PFAS analysis to their ongoing monitoring programs across the country. For example, Michigan required WWTPs that receive industrial influent to identify and sample all of their potential industrial PFAS sources, which has led to the identification of hundreds of potential sources. Now industrial clients are faced with how to identify, minimize and or treat these compounds to stay in compliance. This presentation will review treatment technologies that have been successful, those that have had challenges, and a glimpse of cutting edge technologies that will be available in the near future. Additionally, this presentation will look at potential liabilities the semi conductor industry may face, supported by several case studies highlighting facilities where treatment of PFAS have been required.

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