EPA Recommends Ways to Remove PFAS from Drinking Water Systems
  • drinking water
  • Remediation
  • Delve
  • Water
  • Treatment
  • polyfluoroalkyl
  • PFOS
  • PFBS
  • PFAS
  • Perfluoroalkyl
  • EPA
  • Emerging Contaminants
  • 2019
PFAS_Treatment_News

Recently, as part of its monthly webinar series, EPA recommended certain treatments for removing PFAS1 from drinking water.  These recommendations follow the widespread concerns spurred by detections of this emerging contaminant above the EPA’s advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in 1.2% of public water systems. This development is timely as the conventional treatment technologies currently in use to purify drinking water such as filtration, flocculation, biological, and oxidation are deemed by the agency as largely ineffective.     

The EPA-recommended treatments for PFAS removal are:

1. Granulated Activated Carbon (specifically designed for PFAS removal)

Advantages:

  • >98% removal
  • High capacity for long-chain PFAS
  • Established technology

Drawbacks:

  • Breakthrough of short-chain PFAS
  • Service cycle duration logistics
  • Disposal/regeneration

2. Adsorption Resins (anion exchange)

Advantages:

  • >99% removal
  • High capacity for long-chain PFAS
  • Smaller infrastructure (compared to activated carbon)

Drawbacks:

  • Breakthrough of short-chain PFAS
  • Service cycle duration logistics
  • Spent media disposal

3. High Pressure Filtration (reverse osmosis and microfiltration)

Advantages:

  • >99% removal
  • Effective for a wide range of PFAS
  • Smaller infrastructure (compared to activated carbon)

Drawbacks:

  • Capital/operations costs
  • Membrane fouling
  • Concentrate treatment/disposal

 

For water systems faced with PFAS levels above health concerns, EPA recommends source elimination/alternative raw water supplies, in combination with sustainable removal technologies. 

 

What’s Next?
EPA is continuing research into PFAS treatment and its findings are posted on the water treatability database and small drinking water systems research page.  Trihydro is monitoring this emerging contaminant closely and will continue to provide regular updates.

View the full EPA PFAS Action Plan here > 

Ask us your PFAS questions!
If you have questions or want to know more, please contact Trihydro:

Fritz Krembs, P.E., P.G.
fkrembs@trihydro.com
303-679-3143

Mitch Olson, Ph.D, P.E.
molson@trihydro.com
970-492-6022



1PFAS = Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

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