EPOC Enviro’s Surface-Active Foam Fractionation® (SAFF) water treatment plant for removing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) arrived in late November at Lake Elmo, Minnesota, ready to commence remediation works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
The MPCA is the custodian of a landmark settlement with 3M, making the U.S. clean-up site one of the highest profile PFAS-impacted locations in the world.
“The Minnesota Water Well Association supports new and emerging technology and applauds the MPCA for its insight to recognize and use this important new tool to address the continuing PFAS situation in Minnesota,” said MWWA Executive Director Dave Schulenberg, QAS.
The award-winning containerized system is just the third SAFF to arrive in the United States and the first to be acquired by a state agency. It is one of 10 units currently in existence so far globally.
“Minnesota is a state which is on the leading edge of PFAS remediation. We could not be prouder to have SAFF selected as a lead technology in this critically important work,” said EPOC Enviro President Peter Murphy.
SAFF represents a sustainably engineered approach to PFAS remediation, where a combination of aeration and vacuum is used to elegantly “foam out” 99-plus percent of target PFAS molecules, enabling treated water to be safely returned to the environment.
“We’ve used a green science approach to create SAFF and remove these persistent and toxic PFAS chemistries,” Murphy said. “Our objective was to create a simple, low-cost solution that produces no waste other than a high density PFAS concentrate and contributes zero environmental harm.”
SAFF leverages the natural physiochemistry of PFAS molecules to bond to the surface of air bubbles. With SAFF units now helping to remediate multiple PFAS sites on three continents, it represents a proven approach to permanently remove PFAS from the ecosystem.
“We now have a brilliant opportunity to showcase the value of years of sustainable engineering development in resolving these complex forever chemical remedial issues,” Murphy said. “This is a positive sign of change as the remediation community moves away from unsustainable adsorbent technologies.”
The system will be paired with AECOM’s DE-FLUORO™ electrochemical oxidation technology, ensuring permanent destruction of these forever chemicals.
Allonnia, who is EPOC’s exclusive North American agent, has now begun commissioning the SAFF so it can begin remediating surface and lake waters within the affected catchment areas.
NGWA has long been an industry leader in providing PFAS research, education, and resources to the public and scientific communities. Learn more by visiting NGWA.org/PFAS, which is a complete resource center about the groundwater contaminants featuring a recently updated top-10 facts sheet, a position paper, and more.
Also found there is Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which NGWA published in 2017 and is one of the first PFAS guidance documents to be released. The Association hosted its second conference earlier this year in Westerville, Ohio, focused entirely on PFAS science and remediation.