Poly‐ and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been identified by many regulatory agencies as contaminants of concern within the environment. In recent years, regulatory authorities have established a number of health‐based regulatory and evaluation criteria with groundwater PFAS concentrations typically being less than 50 nanograms per liter (ng/L). Subsurface studies suggest that PFAS compounds are recalcitrant and widespread in the environment. Traditionally, impacted groundwater is extracted and treated on the surface using media such as activated carbon and exchange resins. These treatment technologies are generally expensive, inefficient, and can take decades to reach treatment objectives. The application of in situ remedial technologies is common for a wide variety of contaminants of concern such as petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds; however, for PFASs, the technology is currently emerging. This study involved the application of colloidal activated carbon at a site in Canada where the PFASs perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected in groundwater at concentrations up to 3,260 ng/L and 1,450 ng/L, respectively. The shallow silty‐sand aquifer was anaerobic with an average linear groundwater velocity of approximately 2.6 meters per day. The colloidal activated carbon was applied using direct‐push technology and PFOA and PFOS concentrations below 30 ng/L were subsequently measured in groundwater samples over an 18‐month period. With the exception of perfluoroundecanoic acid, which was detected at 20 ng/L and perfluorooctanesulfonate which was detected at 40 ng/L after 18 months, all PFASs were below their respective method detection limits in all postinjection samples. Colloidal activated carbon was successfully distributed within the target zone of the impacted aquifer with the activated carbon being measured in cores up to 5 meters from the injection point. This case study suggests that colloidal activated carbon can be successfully applied to address low to moderate concentrations of PFASs within similar shallow anaerobic aquifers.
Remediation – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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