Better treatment technologies are needed to address the contamination of surface water and groundwater resources by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a family of thousands of man-made compounds that are rapidly emerging as potential risks to human health and the environment.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Environmental Protection Agency, and others have funded research and development of innovative treatment approaches. Proponents of several innovative treatment technologies have claimed success in removing or destroying PFAS. However, removal mechanisms are often not understood, byproducts may not be measured, and the technology's effect on different PFAS mixtures may be unknown. To improve the return on investment and guide future investments in PFAS treatment technologies, Geosyntec led a team of PFAS researchers to develop practical decision tools, metrics, and guidance to inform the evaluation of the effectiveness of new PFAS treatment technologies.
GEOSYNTEC'S SCOPE OF SERVICES
Geosyntec collaborated with academic researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; Oregon State University; and the Colorado School of Mines to develop and refine lines of evidence, decision tools, and recommended metrics for assessing PFAS treatment technology performance. After identifying multiple potential lines of evidence, our team prepared a series of fact sheets on PFAS lines of evidence, best practices, and other considerations. Questions that technology evaluators can ask themselves and answer include the following:
- Did the technology decrease PFAS concentrations?
- Were treatment kinetics and plausible mechanism identified?
- Were transformation or degradation products identified and quantified?
- Did the study(s) employ best practices?
- Have other considerations that may decrease PFAS treatment effectiveness been evaluated?
We have developed fact sheets and draft decision tools which were refined with input from multiple stakeholder groups. Geosyntec recently finalized the guidance and is in the process of conducting outreach to target audiences via fact sheets, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document, webinars, conference presentations, and publications.
This SERDP project will result in clearer guidance for researchers and practitioners by providing metrics for evaluating the success of innovative PFAS treatment technologies. Some of the anticipated benefits include providing researchers and technology evaluators with an in-depth look at each line of evidence for assessing technology effectiveness; examples of solid outcomes from previous research studies; how existing analytical methods and tools, quality assurance procedures, or changes in study design can improve project outcomes; a list of metrics to use when demonstrating technology efficacy; and a basis for comparing the effectiveness of different remedial technologies.