Shoalhaven City Council installs remediation technology

Thursday, 08 June, 2023 | Supplied by: EPOC Enviro

Shoalhaven City Council installs remediation technology

EPOC Enviro’s containerised Surface Active Foam Fractionation (SAFF) PFAS remediation technology has been installed by Shoalhaven City Council for the first time in Australia.

The council commenced remediation of target PFAS contaminants from landfill leachate waters at the West Nowra Recycling and Waste facility in March 2023 and forms the cornerstone of Shoalhaven’s onsite recycling and circular economy programs.

The technology treats between 200 and 240 m3 of leachate per day, achieving removal to the LOR for Australian regulatory target PFAS contaminants PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS, as well as PFHpA.

Pete Murphy, EPOC Enviro Managing Director, said the SAFF technology has remediated PFAS from more than 24 locations in Europe, the UK and the USA.

The SAFF engineered solution was created to permanently remove PFAS contaminants from the environment. The technology uses the air/water interface of rising air bubbles to remove PFAS contaminants from water. It then concentrates separated PFAS molecules, creating a compact PFAS concentrate ready for destruction.

At the site, it works to permanently remove target PFAS contaminants from water that has been pumped from the landfill leachate pond. The water is then put through a secondary treatment and used to wash glass at the council’s glass processing plant, before being returned to the pond for continuous remediation.

Glass from the plant is used in a variety of applications including road base materials, asphalt, concrete, pipe bedding, drainage material, sand blasting and green ceramics.

“With any new technology there’s an element of risk, but we did our homework, we looked at what’s out there in the marketplace and we identified the benefits of the SAFF system over others. While we’re only a short while into this project, we’re already amazed at the output,” said Shoalhaven City Council’s Waste Operations Coordinator, Peter Windley.

Landfill sites around the world are primary sources of PFAS contamination as they represent the final resting place for PFAS-containing products. These products typically have waterproof, non-stick and stain-resistant properties, such as packaging, mattresses, carpets and furniture.

SAFF can manage the landfill leachate environment, including waters with complex contaminants and suspended solids, as well as metals and high TOC and DOC. It can also remove surface-active chemistries including some pharmaceuticals, surfactants and industrial contaminants. Using no consumables and producing only PFAS hyper-concentrate as a waste stream, the technology is housed in a shipping container for plug-and-play commissioning, requires minimal power to operate and is capable of autonomous operation.

In 2019, the first commercial prototype of SAFF was installed at Army Aviation Centre, Oakey. This plant continues to operate, having remediated over 140 million litres of water. The containerised form of the technology, which has been installed at Shoalhaven, was first used to remove PFAS from landfill leachate in Sweden in 2021.

Shoalhaven uses other recycling initiatives such as enhanced recycling of kerbside collections, landfill gas upgrades and solar generation to create a zero footprint, exploration of circular economy solutions for plastics and textiles, and the production of ceramic tiles from waste products.

“We applaud Shoalhaven for their commitment to sustainability, development of cutting-edge technologies and circular economy solutions. One of their goals is to recycle the contents of red and yellow kerbside bins to achieve above 90% landfill diversion by the end of this year, and this is something that we should all get behind,” Murphy said.

Video interview

OPEC Systems CEO Connor Walsh discussed the project with Shoalhaven Council’s Waste Operations Coordinator, Peter Windley.

Download the video here.

Phone: 1300 13 EPOC
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