The EPA has recently enacted drinking water standards for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used in various industrial and consumer products for decades. With the new stringent regulations, removing PFAS from drinking water is a necessity for water authorities as well as private homeowners on well water. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, PFAS compounds have become a significant concern, particularly regarding their presence in drinking water sources.

Remediating PFAS contamination in drinking water is a complex challenge due to several factors:

  1. Persistence: PFAS are highly persistent in the environment, which means they do not break down easily over time.
  2. Mobility: PFAS can travel long distances in water and can contaminate water sources far from the original release site.
  3. Variety of PFAS: There are many different types of PFAS, each with its own chemical properties and behavior in the environment. This complicates remediation efforts as different PFAS may require different treatment methods.

Several methods have been explored for remediating PFAS contamination in drinking water:

  1. Activated Carbon Filtration: Activated carbon filtration is a common method used to remove PFAS from drinking water. Activated carbon has a high affinity for PFAS and can effectively adsorb these chemicals from water.
  2. Ion Exchange: Ion exchange resins can be used to remove PFAS from water by exchanging the PFAS ions with other ions in the resin.
  3. Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis systems can effectively remove PFAS from water by forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps the PFAS molecules.
  4. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs): AOPs involve the use of oxidizing agents such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide, or UV light to degrade PFAS molecules in water.
  5. In-situ Chemical Oxidation: This method involves injecting oxidizing agents directly into the contaminated groundwater to degrade PFAS in place.

Each of these methods has its advantages and limitations, and the choice of remediation method depends on factors such as the extent of contamination, the type of PFAS present, and site-specific conditions.