South-Netherlands - The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management studied the processing of waste flows at chemicals company Chemours in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, producer of the substance GenX. This study revealed that waste locations were contaminated with PFAO/PFAS. A waste processor in the south of the country anticipated this by identifying the issues, improving the intake policy and taking corrective measures.
The study carried out by ILT into the processing of waste flows revealed that in the recent past there was very little insight into the presence of PFAO/PFAS components in the waste flows of the GenX producer. This resulted in the waste processing sites becoming contaminated.
At the waste processor’s, the purified water from the local wastewater treatment plant still contained PFAS. To minimize the concentrations, Arcadis supervised the process on behalf of the waste processor and liaised with various authorities. This involved focusing on reducing concentrations, analysis methods, assessment values and the comparability of the analyses. Various organizations worked together on this, with not only the concentrations being reduced, but also the underlying process for determining the concentrations being critically evaluated.
The ILT studied the processing of waste flows from Chemours and the emissions of GenX substances to the living environment when processing waste. The study revealed that little or no attention was paid in the entire chain to the hazardous FRD substances in the waste. As a result, FRD substances were emitted to the living environment at various points in the chain.
GenX is a technology for making coatings that involves fluorinated substances (FRD). The hazardous effects of FRD substances are partly comparable to those of the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has identified two FRD substances (902 and 903) as potentially being Substances of Very High Concern.
During the study, a statutory framework was (largely) absent and there was no set of standards for FRD substances (GenX). Based on the fact that the FRD substances were recently added to the list of potential SVHCs and so have a possible impact on people and the environment, all parties in the chain may be expected to take measures to limit emissions to the living environment. This derives from the duty of care provision in the Dutch Environmental Management Act and is thus separate to the lack of a set of standards. The waste processor has thus met the duty of care.
Also view our global perspective: The emerging issue: PFAS.
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