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SAFF technology now removing short chain PFAS molecules

  • SAFF technology now removing short chain PFAS molecules

About the entity

Epoc Enviro
EPOC Enviro (known outside the USA as OPEC Systems) is an award-winning environmental engineering firm. The EPOC acronym stands for ‘Emerging Pollutants of Concern’.
Schneider Electric

EPOC Enviro (a subsidiary of OPEC Systems) announced that its Surface Active Foam Fractionation (SAFF®) PFAS remediation technology can remove almost all short chain PFAS compounds from contaminated water, as well as long chain PFAS compounds.

The Australian company announced the single solution breakthrough during a series of live webinar presentations to more than 300 PFAS remediation clients from around the world.

PFAS is a family of synthetic compounds widely used globally to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. PFAS compounds break down very slowly over time and are recognised as an ‘emerging contaminant’ with widespread concerns about their characteristics of persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, mobility and impacts on human health. 

In announcing the breakthrough, EPOC Enviro Company President, Peter Murphy, said that the recent short chain removal trial results had exceeded all expectations and appeared to be a game changer for remediators looking to step away from using unsustainable GAC or resin remediation technologies.

“We are now offering a naturally elegant solution which simply uses air bubbles to remove PFAS down to C4, providing remediators with the ultimate sustainable solution for PFAS remediation, without use of adsorbents which require ongoing replacement and additional waste management,” he said.

The recent short chain removal trial results had exceeded all expectations and appeared to be a game changer for remediators looking to step away from using unsustainable GAC or resin remediation technologies

“Provision of this single, sustainable solution enables broad scale PFAS remediation wherever this contaminant is found. As the SAFF® technology is between one to two orders of magnitude cheaper to operate, we now have an affordable solution to tackle global PFAS contamination.”

Up until recently, the primary focus for remediators has been to remove long chain PFAS compounds, but as the global regulatory environment has become more stringent with concerns around their long-term toxicity and mobility, there has been an expanded focus on also removing short chain PFAS contaminants.

“Short chain PFAS compounds have traditionally challenged remediators because they don’t bind well to available sites in typical remediation techniques, and this has forced us to get creative in finding a solution.”

SAFF® represents a sustainably engineered approach to PFAS remediation, where a combination of aeration and vacuum is used to rapidly ‘foam out’ >99 per cent of target long chain PFAS molecules and now a significant majority of short chain PFAS, enabling treated water to be safely returned to the environment.

SAFF® exploits the natural properties of PFAS compounds to preferentially bind to the air/water interface of a swarm of rising air bubbles. Once on the surface, the compounds are harvested as a waste froth/foam for permanent destruction using readily available partner technologies.

Short chain PFAS removal is achieved by a combination of enhancements to the SAFF including manipulation of a PFAS compounds’ position on the adsorptive isotherm, vessel geometry and sequencing adjustments, and, where required, the addition of specific amendments.

While removal rates are markedly improved and continually getting better, the only short chain PFAS molecule continuing to challenge the SAFF technology is PFBA, which is currently showing removal rates of 40 per cent.

SAFF’s superior performance has now been proven at several diverse locations around the world, and its unique ability to operate effectively at sites with high percentages of co-contaminants means it can effectively remediate PFAS from leachate waters and other complex waters as well as groundwater and surface water.

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