PFAS are a class of synthetic fluorinated chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products, including defense-related applications. They are persistent – found at low levels in the environment – and bio-accumulate.

Landfills are the final resting place for many products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their presence have been reported in landfill leachates. The EPA is concerned, under current management practices, of the potential for eventual PFAS discharge to the broader environment through landfill leachates. Therefore, landfilling of PFAS-impacted solid wastes is not currently considered to be a suitable waste management solution. Thermal treatment and incineration are considered another option for PFAS impacted waste, however, this technology has its own drawbacks and issues. In this presentation, we discuss environmental issues that arise using both these technologies,

In addition, we present two case studies. The first examines the environmental impact of PFAS in the carpet industry. Once released to the environment during product manufacture, use, or disposal, PFAS becomes part of a virtually closed cycle leading to chronic, lifelong human and ecological exposures. In the other case study, we discuss the release of PFAS to the environment by wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). WWTPs have been recognized as a significant source of PFAS release into the environment and for their accumulation into biosolids, particularly when industrial water releases are processed. In addition to removing nutrients and pathogens, many wastewater treatment plant processes often result in destruction of hazardous substances. However, perfluorinated compounds are resistant to biodegradation. As a result, potential of their release to the environment are significant due to wastewater discharge and biosolids application to the farm industry.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Dr. Harry Behzadi
VP Business Development
Rutherford, NJ, USA