Finding the right solution for PFAS remediation
By Jason Lagowski, Director – Remediation Technologies, Arcadis Australia Pacific
Monday, 13 January, 2020
PFAS is a complex problem, and with recent news on tightening regulations in Australia and around the globe and with PFAS in the news headlines almost daily, many of us are wondering how to tackle the problem. As an environmental professional with 30 years of experience, it is comforting to know that the situation is not insurmountable, and with good planning and effort, we can still solve the challenge.
For those who are less familiar with the matter, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of chemical compounds used widely within industrial and commercial applications since the 1940s. PFAS compounds do not occur naturally in the environment. They are highly mobile and extremely persistent when released into the environment. Research and scrutiny from recent years has increased the understanding in toxicity, persistence, mobility and potential of PFAS to enter our drinking water supplies and the food chain.
The problem is real and serious, but unlike one might think, there is no single generic solution to fix the issue. Because of their unique physical and chemical characteristics, PFAS compounds have been found in soils and water systems across the globe. Very often, PFAS compounds are found in places that have a strong connection to the environment.
So, how can PFAS contamination be solved? How can you trust you have the right partner and technology for your remediation project?
As a client in the middle of a PFAS problem, it’s not always easy to know where or who to turn to. There are a lot of solution providers, and finding the right solution and partner is not always easy. Media and various solution providers are talking about PFAS and presenting multiple threats and quick-fix solutions for those threats. It can be a confusing place to find relevant and accurate information.
When choosing the most suitable PFAS remediation solution, there are a couple of key questions to consider before making the decision. Always ask yourself and the solution provider:
- Is this solution technically effective?
- Is it scalable and cost-effective?
- What is the waste strategy for a PFAS treatment process?
- Is the solution and technology behind it sustainable?
- Does the process create harmful by-products?
- Can the solution meet the current and future regulatory guidelines?
- Do you have a thorough understanding of PFAS sources and distribution on the site?
I strongly believe that the key to success is finding the best and right solution for each remediation project. At Arcadis, we value ourselves as solution agnostics. Instead of offering a generic solution, we rely on our long history and deep understanding of PFAS management and remediation to achieve an outcome for our clients. We believe in bespoke solutions that are site-specific and tailor-made for the problem in hand. Through research, development and partnerships with some of the most innovative companies around the globe, we are at the forefront of PFAS remediation.
We all have a responsibility to improve our quality of life by taking care of our environment and protecting human health. Managing and remediating PFAS contamination is not an easy or simple task. But with smart planning, the right partner and suitable solutions, it can be done safely and efficiently.
At Arcadis our commitment is to improve the quality of life. For me personally, this means using all the knowledge, skills and resources we have, in order to find the best solutions and outcome for our remediation clients.
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