SAFF Pilot Successful: New Tech Achieves 98% Overall PFAS Removal

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SAFF Pilot Successful: New Tech Achieves 98% Overall PFAS Removal
February 24, 2022

DENVER A new PFAS treatment technology recently landed in North America, and it does more than just separate PFAS. CDM Smith has confirmed that the first North American field tests of EPOC Enviro’s Surface Active Foam Frac­tion­a­tion (SAFF®) mobile PFAS treatment system has success­fully removed PFAS from groundwater and created a concentrate that can be cost-effectively managed.

After optimizing the unit for a field demon­stra­tion, CDM Smith engineers were able to separate and concentrate PFAS at a project site impacted by aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). The project team removed nearly all PFAS from both source area groundwater and effluent from an existing chlorinated volatile organic compound (CVOC) treatment system. In addition, the SAFF technology success­fully concen­trated PFAS, reducing the treated water volume  by approx­i­mately 90,000 times.

“Treatment trains that first concentrate PFAS using a technology like SAFF are partic­u­larly promising for realizing complete and cost-effective destruction, said Tamzen Macbeth, CDM Smith envi­ron­men­tal engineer and remediation practice leader.

CDM Smith has been working with EPOC Enviro for the past several years, preparing the technology for practical PFAS treatment. Following a promising round of testing at the bench-scale in CDM Smith’s Bellevue, WA laboratory, the SAFF unit arrived in the U.S. via shipping container last fall. CDM Smith then transported the SAFF container to its first stop on a demon­stra­tion tour.

EPOC Enviro’s break­through SAFF system relies on a natural phenomenon called foam frac­tion­a­tion, wherein PFAS adhere to fine air bubbles. Using those bubbles, SAFF increases the air-water interface surface area, thereby separating the PFAS and collecting them in the form of concen­trated foam.

SAFF is important for its ability to isolate PFAS from its source waters, but also for its efficiency. CDM Smith now has data confirming SAFF’s ability to isolate PFAS and collect them as foam for destruction. Using SAFF, the CDM Smith project team was able to separate on average 98% of PFAS from the source area groundwater and reduce the overall volume of treated water by 90,000 times. That volume reduction will make it easier to destroy the PFAS because all destructive treatment tech­nolo­gies are energy intensive

In addition to testing its general efficacy, the CDM Smith team was able to optimize SAFF for peak performance. The field test provided practical insights for future operations, including the opti­miza­tion of chemical additives to yield the best removal efficiency.

Following the field test, scientists at CDM Smith’s Denver research laboratory prepared for destruction. Tamzen Macbeth and her team have already begun destroying the PFAS concentrate using electro-chemical oxidation (ECO). Connect with CDM Smith’s PFAS specialists for the latest information on how to employ SAFF to fight PFAS.

CDM Smith is a privately owned engineering and construc­tion firm providing legendary client service and smart solutions in water, environment, trans­porta­tion, energy and facilities. Passionate about our work and invested in each other, we are inspired to think and driven to solve the world's envi­ron­men­tal and infra­struc­ture challenges.

Tamzen MacBeth Tamzen MacBeth
Our approach has the potential to leverage synergistic technologies to provide a more sustainable solution for PFAS treatment.