Clarkson and GSI Teams Publish Results of the First Field Demonstration of the Plasma Technology for PFAS Treatment in ES&T Water

Field Demonstration of a Pilot-Scale Plasma Reactor for the Rapid Removal of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Groundwater

A pilot-scale plasma-based water treatment system containing two enhanced contact plasma reactors was deployed to a fire training area at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to treat poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in aqueous filmforming foam-impacted groundwater from two monitoring wells, wells B and C. Extracted water from both wells was treated through the plasma trailer in a semibatch mode at flow rates ranging from 2.4 to 8.4 L/min. Long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs; fluorocarbon chain of ≥6) and PFAS precursors were reduced by ≥90% for all flow rates in a single cycle through the reactors. Combined perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid concentrations lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level of 70 ng/L were achieved in fewer than three cycles through the reactors. Short-chain PFAAs (fluorocarbon chain of ≤5) were removed to a lesser extent (0−95%) due to their generation during plasma treatment of long-chain PFAAs and PFAS precursors and limited accumulation at the plasma−liquid interface of the reactor. To improve the destruction of short-chain PFAAs, batch mode experiments were performed with the addition of a cationic surfactant (cetrimonium bromide), resulting in an 88% reduction of all short-chain PFAAs within 120 min of treatment.

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For more information about the plasma technology field demonstration, please contact Stephen Richardson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Poonam Kulkarni (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.