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This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research to manage the impacts of traditional aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) by destroying per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater and developing PFAS-free firefighting foams. Specifically, investigators will discuss sustainable, cost-effective groundwater treatment technologies for PFAS removal and modular design strategies for developing novel PFAS-free firefighting foams.
“Improved Longevity and Selectivity of PFAS Groundwater Treatment using Submicron Powdered Activated Carbon (SPAC) and Ceramic Membrane Filtration (CMF)” by Mr. Joseph Quinnan and Mr. Terence Reid (ESTCP Project, ER19-5181)
This presentation will focus on the development of sustainable, cost-effective treatment technologies to remove PFAS from water using submicron powdered activated carbon and ceramic membrane filtration (SPAC CMF). The SPAC medium is maintained in a closed-loop system. Treated water is separated using high-strength ceramic membranes in an innovative carbon conservation and recovery process. Pilot studies were completed using a two-reactor system. The two-reactor system is capable of parallel and series configuration, which enabled rapid optimization of treatment. Performance evaluations were based on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) removal, as well as the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR3) suite of six PFAS and total PFAS removal. The technology was initially deployed at Horsham Air Guard station to treat PFAS in a combined groundwater and surface water discharge stream. Results showed several hundred-fold increase in specific absorbance compared to treatment with granular activated carbon (GAC). Lifecycle costs were reduced by 90% compared to GAC due to operations and maintenance cost advantages. The technology is currently deployed to treat groundwater impacted by PFAS at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, where it will be compared with ion exchange resin performance. Initial results demonstrate specific absorbance at 4- to 5 times greater than observed at the Horsham Air Guard Station.
“PFAS-free Fire Suppression Foams from Water-Dispersible Sulfonated Aromatic Polyimides: Modular Design Strategies for Next Generation High Performance Polymeric Foams” by Dr. Tim Long (SERDP Project, WP18-1559)
Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) contain PFAS as amphiphilic surfactants for fire suppression. Although fluorinated compounds provide desirable properties including foam stability and excellent fire retardancy performance, their environmental impact has catalyzed research to develop PFAS-free formulations. This presentation will outline a modular design strategy to identify engineered polymers to replace PFAS in fire-fighting foams. This approach leverages commercially-accessible polymeric platforms and new innovations in sulfonated polymeric precursors and engineering polymers for water-dispersibility and stable foam formation. These polymers are recognized for properties important in fire suppression such as thermal and chemical stability, flame resistance, high char yields, and orthogonal reactivity for photo-crosslinking with water dispersibility. Foam formulations with non-toxic surfactants and salts allowed sulfonated polyimides and poly(amic acids) to form stable foams, and MIL-F-24385F performance testing demonstrated effective foam quality, stability, drainage time, and burn-back resistance.
Mr. Joe Quinnan is a senior vice president with Arcadis in Novi, Michigan. He has more than 30 years of professional experience in environmental consulting, and is co-author of the book Remediation Hydraulics (CRC Press, 2008). Mr. Quinnan serves as the technical lead for Arcadis’ PFAS programs for the DoD and as the North American Director of Emerging Contaminants. He is currently leading ESTCP projects that evaluate SPAC CMF to treat PFAS-impacted water and soil washing to treat PFAS source zones. Mr. Quinnan led the validation of a PFAS mobile lab and application of stratigraphic flux and source strength. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geological engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Mr. Terence Reid is the Director of Research and Development for Aqua Aerobic Systems in Loves Park, Illinois. He oversees activities for product enhancement, new product design and product development in the areas of biological treatment, filtration and membrane technologies. Mr. Reid’s current area of applied research is demonstrating the performance and economic attributes of a new adsorptive technology to remove PFAS from contaminated water. He is experienced in the design, development and deployment of technologies in the water and wastewater industry, and has authored numerous publications on nutrient removal, carbon diversion, membrane separation and operational control strategies. Mr. Reid holds several patents in activated sludge, filtration and software control methods, and he was a past recipient of the Water Environment Federation Innovative Technology award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in product design and development from Northwestern University.
Dr. Tim Long is a faculty member at Arizona State University (ASU) with appointments in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School for Engineering Matter, Transport and Energy. Dr. Long also serves as the Director of the ASU Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing. His interdisciplinary research group establishes fundamental relationships of macromolecular structure with physical properties and advanced processing with a goal of more sustainable chemistry and engineering. He has published over 375 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters with a focus on novel synthetic methods, block and graft copolymers, controlled polymerization processes, hydrogen bond- and ion-containing polymers, and tailored high performance engineering polymers. Designing functional polymers for additive manufacturing is an important function of his research program. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Bonaventure University in Olean in New York and a doctoral degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech.