A review of the emerging treatment technologies for PFAS contaminated soils

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Abstract

Contamination of soils with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has become a challenging issue due to the adverse effects of these substances on both the environment and public health. PFAS have strong chemical structures and their bonding with soil makes them challenging to eliminate from soil environments. Traditional methods of soil remediation have not been successful in their reduction or removal from the environment. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing and emerging technologies for remediating PFAS contaminated soils with guidance on which approach to use in different contexts. The functions of all remediation technologies, their suitability, limitations, and the scale applied from laboratory to the field are presented as a baseline for understanding the research need for treatment in soil environments. To date, the immobilization method has been a significant part of the remediation solution for PFAS contaminated soils, although its long-term efficiency still needs further investigation. Soil washing and thermal treatment techniques have been tested at the field scale, but they are expensive and energy-intensive due to the use of a large volume of washing solvent and the high melting point of PFAS, respectively; both methods need a large initial investment for their installation. Other remediation technologies, such as chemical oxidation, ball milling, and electron beams, have been progressed in the laboratory. However, additional research is needed to make them feasible, cost-effective and applicable in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109896
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume255
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2020

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Soils
Remediation
remediation
soil
soil remediation
Washing
immobilization
public health
melting
contaminated soil
Ball milling
Public health
oxidation
electron
Melting point
Electron beams
Contamination
cost
Heat treatment
energy

Cite this

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title = "A review of the emerging treatment technologies for PFAS contaminated soils",
abstract = "Contamination of soils with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has become a challenging issue due to the adverse effects of these substances on both the environment and public health. PFAS have strong chemical structures and their bonding with soil makes them challenging to eliminate from soil environments. Traditional methods of soil remediation have not been successful in their reduction or removal from the environment. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing and emerging technologies for remediating PFAS contaminated soils with guidance on which approach to use in different contexts. The functions of all remediation technologies, their suitability, limitations, and the scale applied from laboratory to the field are presented as a baseline for understanding the research need for treatment in soil environments. To date, the immobilization method has been a significant part of the remediation solution for PFAS contaminated soils, although its long-term efficiency still needs further investigation. Soil washing and thermal treatment techniques have been tested at the field scale, but they are expensive and energy-intensive due to the use of a large volume of washing solvent and the high melting point of PFAS, respectively; both methods need a large initial investment for their installation. Other remediation technologies, such as chemical oxidation, ball milling, and electron beams, have been progressed in the laboratory. However, additional research is needed to make them feasible, cost-effective and applicable in the field.",
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N2 - Contamination of soils with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has become a challenging issue due to the adverse effects of these substances on both the environment and public health. PFAS have strong chemical structures and their bonding with soil makes them challenging to eliminate from soil environments. Traditional methods of soil remediation have not been successful in their reduction or removal from the environment. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing and emerging technologies for remediating PFAS contaminated soils with guidance on which approach to use in different contexts. The functions of all remediation technologies, their suitability, limitations, and the scale applied from laboratory to the field are presented as a baseline for understanding the research need for treatment in soil environments. To date, the immobilization method has been a significant part of the remediation solution for PFAS contaminated soils, although its long-term efficiency still needs further investigation. Soil washing and thermal treatment techniques have been tested at the field scale, but they are expensive and energy-intensive due to the use of a large volume of washing solvent and the high melting point of PFAS, respectively; both methods need a large initial investment for their installation. Other remediation technologies, such as chemical oxidation, ball milling, and electron beams, have been progressed in the laboratory. However, additional research is needed to make them feasible, cost-effective and applicable in the field.

AB - Contamination of soils with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has become a challenging issue due to the adverse effects of these substances on both the environment and public health. PFAS have strong chemical structures and their bonding with soil makes them challenging to eliminate from soil environments. Traditional methods of soil remediation have not been successful in their reduction or removal from the environment. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing and emerging technologies for remediating PFAS contaminated soils with guidance on which approach to use in different contexts. The functions of all remediation technologies, their suitability, limitations, and the scale applied from laboratory to the field are presented as a baseline for understanding the research need for treatment in soil environments. To date, the immobilization method has been a significant part of the remediation solution for PFAS contaminated soils, although its long-term efficiency still needs further investigation. Soil washing and thermal treatment techniques have been tested at the field scale, but they are expensive and energy-intensive due to the use of a large volume of washing solvent and the high melting point of PFAS, respectively; both methods need a large initial investment for their installation. Other remediation technologies, such as chemical oxidation, ball milling, and electron beams, have been progressed in the laboratory. However, additional research is needed to make them feasible, cost-effective and applicable in the field.

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