Global PFAS Remediation Experts

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What are Pfas?

PFAS is comprised of thousands of manmade chemicals, which were bulk-manufactured and have been used for various applications since the 1940s.

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PFAs

Where are PFAS Found?

PFAS were incorporated in both commercial and consumer products. This included:

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The Issue

  • Decades of the use and disposal of the various products that PFAS were incorporated into and the use of PFAS-integrated foams training, incident response or fire suppressions systems, led to near ubiquitous presence of the chemical in environments worldwide.

  • With PFAS being highly soluble in water, the compound was found to have bioaccumulated and collected in soils and water systems. PFAS are not biodegradable and are extremely persistent in natural environments.

  • In light of this, a global effort for treatment methods is of the upmost importance, with Arcadis at the helm of providing clients with tailored solutions to their PFAS problem.

  • In Australia, Arcadis is partnering with some of the largest aviation, water, property, construction, government, and industrial organisations, harnessing advances in technologies that meet their specific needs. This includes advanced data analytics, predictive modelling, and developing new technical solutions to PFAS destruction.

The Issue

Decades of the use and disposal of the various products that PFAS were incorporated into and the use of PFAS-integrated foams training, incident response or fire suppressions systems, led to near ubiquitous presence of the chemical in environments worldwide.

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The Issue

With PFAS being highly soluble in water, the compound was found to have bioaccumulated and collected in soils and water systems. PFAS are not biodegradable and are extremely persistent in natural environments.

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The Issue

In light of this, a global effort for treatment methods is of the upmost importance, with Arcadis at the helm of providing clients with tailored solutions to their PFAS problem.

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The Issue

In Australia, Arcadis is partnering with some of the largest aviation, water, property, construction, government, and industrial organisations, harnessing advances in technologies that meet their specific needs. This includes advanced data analytics, predictive modelling, and developing new technical solutions to PFAS destruction.

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Arcadis is at the forefront of a global effort to evaluate and remediate impacted sites and environments.

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Our Approach

Remediation

The remediation industry is on the cusp of major breakthroughs that will challenge conventional treatment methods and solve some of the most complex environmental issues.

At Arcadis, our scientists and engineers are designing the future of site evaluation and restoration by improving the application of existing tools, developing next-generation technologies, and overturning outdated scientific models to explore what is possible. Our focus on increasing the certainty of outcomes, attaining sustainability and achieving business objectives is driving innovation in the industry.

Environmental Business Consulting

Our Environmental Business Consulting services help identify and manage risks on a proactive, efficient and cost-effective basis. This includes:

  • Assessment of potential ecological and human health risks
  • Consultation on compliance, merger and acquisition, capital investment, and performance and sustainability issues
  • Development of response programs and community outreach strategies

Site Evaluation and Restoration

Our industry-leading scientists and engineers are redefining the possibilities of Site Evaluation and Restoration. They achieve this through:

  • Investigation and evaluation of contaminated sites
  • Development of cost-effective site management strategies
  • Design and implementation of optimised remediation treatments

Hydrogeological Services

Our team of qualified hydrogeologists have expertise in both contaminated sites and water resources. Our service offering includes:

  • Dewatering studies
  • Pumping tests and analysis
  • Groundwater supply and water resource evaluation
  • Groundwater impact assessments
  • Groundwater fate and transport modelling

PFAS-containing Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) have been widely used around the world for both firefighting (in fixed systems and incident response) and fire training purposes. While most foams no longer contain PFOS or PFOA, many of those currently in use still contain other PFAS compounds (including precursor compounds).

As a consequence, many sites where AFFF products were used have been identified as significant sources of PFAS contamination to soil and groundwater, posing a risk to human health and the environment. Arcadis focuses on providing sustainable solutions to manage and/or remediate these issues, while minimising the potential risks posed by PFAS impacted sites.

Our Solutions

Taking a proactive approach to mitigating the potential risks that PFAS containing foams can pose to human health and the environment, Arcadis offers several solutions.

  • Foam replacement

    While most foams no longer contain PFOS or PFOA, a complete transition to fluorine-free foams (F3) is recommended to reduce ongoing risks of contamination from other PFAS compounds and residual contamination. F3 foams are becoming more common in Europe and Asia, as they are effective, biodegradable and reduce the possibility of future environmental liabilities associated with PFAS. The costs of changing foam product and delivery infrastructure can be balanced against the potential future management and remediation costs associated with addressing soil and groundwater impacts arising from the ongoing use of PFAS containing foams.

  • PFAS transition program

    With a detailed understanding of the lifecycle and treatment of PFAS-containing foams, Arcadis’ transition strategies to F3 foams include decontamination, disposal of old foams, replacement of equipment, and testing of new foam systems.

    Our transitioning programs also combine environmental management with fire protection engineering, fire safety strategies and fire risk assessments. In this way Arcadis can ensure that our programs provide a framework to manage regulatory concerns and potential liabilities.

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Foam

Due to its porous nature, concrete can absorb and accumulate PFAS contamination. This is as a result of interactions with contaminated water, or activities such as firefighting training with Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). PFAS impacts in concrete can then be leached from concrete over time, acting as an ongoing secondary contamination source.

Our Solutions

While remediation of existing concrete infrastructure can be challenging, Arcadis regularly partners with technology vendors and clients to provide expert consultancy and advisory services in this area, working to develop practical management strategies.

  • Surface Sealants

    In order to prevent releases of PFAS from concrete infrastructure, Arcadis has partnered with manufacturers to trial and develop surface sealants that manage the leaching of PFAS. Care is needed when assessing the suitability of a site and the proposed surface sealants, as factors such as thermal stability, degradation over time and ongoing maintenance need consideration.

    Arcadis can provide our clients with advice on a wide range of polymer-based coatings to manage PFAS in impacted concrete.

  • X55

    Pairing with innovative business strategy company KiStrategies, Arcadis is proud to be working on a cutting-edge solution for PFAS-impacted concrete infrastructures.

    X55 is a licenced proprietary technology product which, when applied to concrete, undergoes a polymerisation and crystallisation reaction within the base material. This creates a long-lasting, chemically resistant barrier which encapsulates and stabilises PFAS compounds in concrete. X55 can be sprayed on or applied as a paste to concrete infrastructure.

    For a proactive approach, X55 can also be added to the concrete mix at the time of batching. Mixed into the base material, it enforces the concrete and stabilises the mixture. This product can used to either prevent PFAS contamination, or to enable safe off-site disposal of PFAS impacted concrete waste materials.

Concrete

The widespread global use of PFAS compounds for a variety of purposes, combined with their high mobility and persistent nature, have led to widespread distribution in both surface and groundwater in the environment.

PFAS impacts to surface and groundwater may occur as a result of the historic, and in some cases ongoing, use of PFAS-containing products, such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). Sites where PFAS-containing AFFF were used or stored represent a high percentage of known PFAS-impacted sites.

Other potential sources of PFAS impact to surface and groundwater include leachate from landfills, water treatment plant wastes, runoff from urban catchments, and releases from industrial areas. Water is the key transport pathway for PFAS to migrate from source areas to areas where human health or ecological receptors may be impacted.

Our Solutions

Arcadis has significant global experience in the treatment of PFAS-contaminated surface and groundwater. Our team of experts has designed and installed large-scale PFAS water treatment systems worldwide using a variety of technologies, and offers several potential water treatment options.

  • SonolysisTM

    Sonolysis™ is an innovative technique for PFAS-impacted water or liquid waste, which Arcadis is currently developing with an international team of scientists. The process uses ultrasonic waves to break down PFAS compounds through the creation of microbubbles in a fluid. These microbubbles oscillate and collapse, releasing significant energy that can be used to destroy a wide range of PFAS compounds.

    Arcadis is working to further develop and eventually bring this technology to market as a viable commercial remedial option for PFAS contamination in water.

  • Ozofractionation

    Developed by Evocra in partnership with Arcadis, the process of ozofractionation can remove a large range of PFAS compounds from water and is effective in the presence of a variety of other contaminants. By exploiting the tendency of PFAS to partition to the gas-liquid interface, ozofractionation attracts PFAS compounds and concentrates them in a resultant foam. This foam is then separated from the treated water and subjected to secondary treatment to further concentrate the PFAS contaminants.

    The ozofractionation process can achieve greater than 99.9% removal of PFAS, significantly reducing the volume of contaminated water.

  • Adsorption

    Adsorption techniques work by using an adsorptive media, such as granular activated carbon (GAC) or ion exchange resins (AX), to attract and capture PFAS compounds from water to the surface of the adsorptive media. Adsorption technologies provide a relatively quick and cost-effective remedial option, representing a lower-risk treatment solution. However, selection of the most appropriate sorbent requires consideration of a wide range of site-specific factors and wastes generated by the treatment process may require separate management and/or remediation at additional cost.

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WATER

PFAS contamination in soil is typically associated with the legacy use of firefighting foam during fire training activities. However, PFAS-containing products are still used in Australia and may result in potential future liabilities.

If left unmanaged, PFAS-contaminated soil may result in the eventual contamination of surface and groundwater, and can also affect food produce in situations where contaminated water is being used for irrigation. Therefore, early management of PFAS-impacted soil is critical for effective site and risk management.

Our Solutions

Traditionally, soil remediation has relied on the use of expensive and labour-intensive technologies, or redirecting impacted soil to landfill. Arcadis focuses on providing innovative, safe and cost-effective solutions by providing several key methods.

  • Soil immobilisation

    Immobilisation agents such as organoclays, carbon and other proprietary chemicals can be used to reduce the bioavailability of PFAS in soil.

  • Soil washing

    Soil washing is a separation process that employs a range of physical and chemical separation techniques to remove PFAS from soil. This is achieved by transferring contamination into the liquid phase, where it can be more readily treated using a water treatment technology. Once treated, the washed soil may then be suitable for reuse.

  • onsite management/ containment options

    The regulatory hierarchy of management options for soils usually prefer onsite management options before offsite treatment or disposal. Onsite options could take the form of onsite caps and/or containment cells. Arcadis engineers and scientists have extensive experience in the design and construction of caps and containment cells that can be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned treatment options.

SOIL-FG

SOIL

Foam

PFAS-containing Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) have been widely used around the world for both firefighting (in fixed systems and incident response) and fire training purposes. While most foams no longer contain PFOS or PFOA, many of those currently in use still contain other PFAS compounds (including ‘precursor’ compounds).

As a consequence, many sites where AFFF products were used have been identified as significant sources of PFAS contamination to soil and groundwater, posing a risk to human health and the environment. Arcadis focuses on providing sustainable solutions to manage and remediate these issues, while minimising the potential risks posed by PFAS-impacted sites.

Our Solutions

Taking a proactive approach to mitigating the potential risks that PFAS containing foams can pose to human-health and the environment, Arcadis offers several solutions.

  • Foam replacement

    While most foams no longer contain PFOS or PFOA, a complete transition to fluorine-free foams (F3) is recommended to reduce ongoing risks of contamination from other PFAS compounds and residual contamination. F3 foams are becoming more common in Europe and Asia, as they are effective, biodegradable and reduce the possibility of future environmental liabilities associated with PFAS. The costs of changing foam product and delivery infrastructure can be balanced against the potential future management and remediation costs associated with addressing soil and groundwater impacts arising from the ongoing use of PFAS containing foams.

  • PFAS transition program

    With a detailed understanding of the lifecycle and treatment of PFAS-containing foams, Arcadis’ transition strategies to F3 foams include decontamination, disposal of old foams, replacement of equipment, and testing of new foam systems.

    Our transitioning programs also combine environmental management with fire protection engineering, fire safety strategies and fire risk assessments. In this way Arcadis can ensure that our programs provide a framework to manage regulatory concerns and potential liabilities.

Concrete

Due to its porous nature, concrete can absorb and accumulate PFAS contamination. This is as a result of interactions with contaminated water, or activities such as firefighting training with Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). PFAS impacts in concrete can then be leached from concrete over time, acting as an ongoing secondary contamination source.

Our Solutions

While remediation of existing concrete infrastructure can be challenging, Arcadis regularly partners with technology vendors and clients to provide expert consultancy and advisory services in this area, working to develop practical management strategies.

  • Surface Sealants

    In order to prevent releases of PFAS from concrete infrastructure, Arcadis has partnered with manufacturers to trial and develop surface sealants that manage the leaching of PFAS. Care is needed when assessing the suitability of a site and the proposed surface sealants, as factors such as thermal stability, degradation over time and ongoing maintenance need consideration.

    Arcadis can provide our clients with advice on a wide range of polymer-based coatings to manage PFAS in impacted concrete.

  • X55

    Pairing with innovative business strategy company KiStrategies, Arcadis is proud to be working on a cutting-edge solution for PFAS-impacted concrete infrastructures.

    X55 is a licenced proprietary technology product which, when applied to concrete, undergoes a polymerisation and crystallisation reaction within the base material. This creates a long-lasting, chemically resistant barrier which encapsulates and stabilises PFAS compounds in concrete. X55 can be sprayed on or applied as a paste to concrete infrastructure.

    For a proactive approach, X55 can also be added to the concrete mix at the time of batching. Mixed into the base material, it enforces the concrete and stabilises the mixture. This product can used to either prevent PFAS contamination, or to enable safe off-site disposal of PFAS impacted concrete waste materials.

Water

The widespread global use of PFAS compounds for a variety of purposes, combined with their high mobility and persistent nature, have led to widespread distribution in both surface and groundwater in the environment.

PFAS impacts to surface and groundwater may occur as a result of the historic, and in some cases ongoing, use of PFAS-containing products, such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). Sites where PFAS-containing AFFF were used or stored represent a high percentage of known PFAS-impacted sites.

Other potential sources of PFAS impact to surface and groundwater include leachate from landfills, water treatment plant wastes, runoff from urban catchments, and releases from industrial areas. Water is the key transport pathway for PFAS to migrate from source areas to areas where human health or ecological receptors may be impacted.

Our Solutions

Arcadis has significant global experience in the treatment of PFAS-contaminated surface and groundwater. Our team of experts has designed and installed large-scale PFAS water treatment systems worldwide using a variety of technologies, and offers several potential water treatment options.

  • SonolysisTM

    Sonolysis™ is an innovative technique for PFAS-impacted water or liquid waste, which Arcadis is currently developing with an international team of scientists. The process uses ultrasonic waves to break down PFAS compounds through the creation of microbubbles in a fluid. These microbubbles oscillate and collapse, releasing significant energy that can be used to destroy a wide range of PFAS compounds.

    Arcadis is working to further develop and eventually bring this technology to market as a viable commercial remedial option for PFAS contamination in water.

  • Ozofractionation

    Developed by Evocra in partnership with Arcadis, the process of ozofractionation can remove a large range of PFAS compounds from water and is effective in the presence of a variety of other contaminants. By exploiting the tendency of PFAS to partition to the gas-liquid interface, ozofractionation attracts PFAS compounds and concentrates them in a resultant foam. This foam is then separated from the treated water and subjected to secondary treatment to further concentrate the PFAS contaminants.

    The ozofractionation process can achieve greater than 99.9% removal of PFAS, significantly reducing the volume of contaminated water.

  • Adsorption

    Adsorption techniques work by using an adsorptive media, such as granular activated carbon (GAC) or ion exchange resins (AX), to attract and capture PFAS compounds from water to the surface of the adsorptive media. Adsorption technologies provide a relatively quick and cost-effective remedial option, representing a lower-risk treatment solution. However, selection of the most appropriate sorbent requires consideration of a wide range of site-specific factors and wastes generated by the treatment process may require separate management and/or remediation at additional cost.

Soil

PFAS contamination in soil is typically associated with the legacy use of firefighting foam during fire training activities. However, PFAS-containing products are still used in Australia and may result in potential future liabilities.

If left unmanaged, PFAS-contaminated soil may result in the eventual contamination of surface and groundwater, and can also affect food produce in situations where contaminated water is being used for irrigation. Therefore, early management of PFAS-impacted soil is critical for effective site and risk management.

Our Solutions

Traditionally, soil remediation has relied on the use of expensive and labour-intensive technologies, or redirecting impacted soil to landfill. Arcadis focuses on providing innovative, safe and cost-effective solutions by providing several key methods.

  • Soil immobilisation

    Immobilisation agents such as organoclays, carbon and other proprietary chemicals can be used to reduce the bioavailability of PFAS in soil.

  • Soil washing

    Soil washing is a separation process that employs a range of physical and chemical separation techniques to remove PFAS from soil. This is achieved by transferring contamination into the liquid phase, where it can be more readily treated using a water treatment technology. Once treated, the washed soil may then be suitable for reuse.

  • onsite management/ containment options

    The regulatory hierarchy of management options for soils usually prefer onsite management options before offsite treatment or disposal. Onsite options could take the form of onsite caps and/or containment cells. Arcadis engineers and scientists have extensive experience in the design and construction of caps and containment cells that can be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned treatment options.

We all deserve a safe environment to live in.

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Minimise your impact today

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Whether you want to manage environmental risk, meet regulatory requirements or restore impaired assets, Arcadis can help you understand and minimise your impact on the natural world, while still optimising your business’s performance.

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