February 16, 2022

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Rula Deeb, Elisabeth Hawley, Michael Kavanaugh, and John Merrill Coauthored a Report Entitled "Lines of Evidence to Assess the Effectiveness of PFAS Remedial Technologies" Published by SERDP/ESTCP

Rula Deeb, Ph.D., BCEEM, PMP; Elisabeth Hawley, P.E; Michael Kavanaugh, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE; and John Merrill (California) coauthored a report entitled "Lines of Evidence to Assess the Effectiveness of PFAS Remedial Technologies" published by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)/ Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) in December 2021.

Rula Deeb was the lead author, and her Geosyntec coauthors were Elisabeth Hawley, Michael Kavanaugh, and John Merrill.

Rula Deeb is a Senior Principal based in California with more than 25 years of experience focused on private practice and academia addressing the cross-media fate and transport of contaminants and the remediation of complex soil and groundwater sites impacted by non-aqueous phase liquids.

Elisabeth Hawley is a Senior Consultant based in northern California with 16 years of experience advancing environmental remediation projects involving site characterization, fate and transport, remediation, strategies to achieve site closure, and litigation support services.

Michael Kavanaugh is a Senior Principal Chemical and Environmental Engineer based in California with more than 40 years of consulting experience focused on water quality management, water treatment, and the remediation of contaminated sites. He has served a highly diverse group of private and public sector clients directly, through industry associations, and through attorneys.

John Merrill has three years of consulting and three years of academic research experience related to the treatment of emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), and 1,4-dioxane. He performs environmental site investigation and remediation tasks such as groundwater monitoring, soil vapor sampling, and construction quality assurance. John also supports litigation projects involving environmental liability and remediation technologies.

ESTCP is U.S. Department of Defense's environmental technology demonstration and validation program. The Program was established in 1995 to promote the transfer of innovative technologies that have successfully established proof of concept to field or production use. ESTCP demonstrations collect cost and performance data to overcome the barriers to employ an innovative technology because of concerns regarding technical or programmatic risk, the so-called "Valley of Death."


The Department of Defense (DoD) needs treatment technologies to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) contamination in soil and groundwater. The remediation, drinking water and waste management industries all recognize the importance and extent of investments needed to improve PFAS treatment options. Proponents of several innovative treatment technologies have claimed success in removing or destroying PFASs. However, removal mechanisms are often not understood, byproducts are often not measured, and the effect of the technology on other components in AFFF mixtures is unknown. To improve the return on investment and guide future investments in PFAS treatment technologies, this project plans to develop lines of evidence to assess the effectiveness of PFAS treatment technologies.

This project will result in clearer guidance for researchers and practitioners alike by providing appropriate metrics for evaluating the success of PFAS treatment at different stages of technology development. It will provide technology developers with clear metrics to follow to demonstrate technology efficacy and best practices to avoid common pitfalls. This project will also provide a basis for comparison of the effectiveness of different remedial technologies. Project results may be relevant to other contaminants beyond PFASs.

More Information

Learn more about the article: ER18-1633 Project Overview (serdp-estcp.org)
Learn more about SERDP/ESTCP: Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (serdp-estcp.org)
For consultation regarding PFAS, contact Rula Deeb at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..