Monday, September 9, 2024
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM
PFAS in Wastewater and Biosolids: Ideas to Effectively Assess and Manage this Growing Concern
Water Resource Recovery

Although the current and primary focus on PFAS is within our clean water and drinking water systems, there is an increased focus on PFAS in wastewater and biosolids. Conventional sewage treatment methods do not efficiently remove PFAS. Recent studies have shown PFAS in WWTP influents to be in the tens to hundreds of parts per trillion (ng/L), or greater, depending on the specific sources within the sewer catchment area. Manufacturers of these items often discharge to WWTPs. Landfill leachate discharge is also a common source of PFAS in WWTP influent. In some rare cases, aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) used primarily at military and commercial airports with fire-fighting training activities have resulted in contamination of soil and groundwater near these sites that could then leach into groundwater or stormwater that is carried into sanitary sewers which have significant inflow and infiltration as part of the wastewater flow. However, as have come to discover the prevalence of PFAS in consumer products make the presence of these compounds almost ubiquitous in domestic wastewater. Application of biosolids from WWTPs as a soil amendment can result in a transfer of PFAS to soil, which can then leach to groundwater or be available for uptake by plants and soil organisms and bio-magnify to grazing livestock. PFAS have been detected in soils, groundwater, crops, and livestock near agricultural fields that receive PFAS-contaminated biosolids, fueling public concern. This presentation will address the following related PFAS in wastewater and biosolids: • What are PFAS? • Why are PFAS in wastewater? • Is landfill leachate the primary source in wastewater? • What is the fate of PFAS in biological treatment systems? • Current and anticipated future regulations related to PFAS in wastewater and biosolids • What can be used to treat PFAS in wastewater and biosolids? This presentation will help utility planners, operators, engineers and administrators understand the nature of the PFAS issue, how these compounds are introduced into wastewater and biosolids, the rapidly changing regulatory landscape, and what approaches and technologies are currently being evaluate PFAS sources and potentially eliminate these compounds from wastewater effluents and biosolids products.