• Capabilities: Water Supply and Treatment
  • Sectors: Water

Protecting Guernsey drinking water supplies from PFASs

Guernsey, The Channel Islands - Following identification of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in surface waters which supply the island’s drinking water reservoir, Guernsey Airport required support investigating areas in the vicinity of the airport that had potentially been impacted from the use of firefighting foams containing specific PFASs during fire training and incident response. As part of our commission, Arcadis identified and developed a cost-effective and pragmatic way to manage and mitigate the impacts of this contamination, as well as developing a bespoke solution which would ensure the protection of the island’s drinking water supply.

1

bespoke solution

20 litres

of water treated per second

Poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a group of man-made chemicals which were first developed in the 1940s for a wide range of industrial applications and products such as textile coatings, non-stick cookware, electronics and firefighting foams. Their extensive use has led to large-scale environmental releases, particularly into the water environment, from sources such as wastewater treatment plants, landfill sites and firefighting training areas. Once in the environment, PFASs are highly mobile in water, they do not biodegrade and some are bio-accumulative, meaning they accumulate in living organisms, including humans. 

Guernsey Airport needed to establish whether the specific PFASs identified in surface waters, which are a source for drinking water on the island, were due to the airport using firefighting foams that contained PFASs.  Arcadis was commissioned in 2008 to investigate and assess soil, groundwater and surface waters, implement interim emergency response measures and design and develop a bespoke water treatment system. As part of our investigation we identified seven main areas at the airport which had been impacted by PFASs, four of which were then prioritised and subject to remediation. This included the pragmatic removal of 15,000 tonnes of impacted soil, which was continuing to act as a PFASs source into the local water environment.

Arcadis also designed a water treatment system to remove the PFASs that posed a risk to Guernsey’s water supply. The system works by capturing and treating groundwater and surface water using granulated activated carbon before it reaches the islands drinking water reservoir. Despite the difficulties that come with working on an active airport and dealing with a highly complex contaminant, this treatment system was fully installed at the airport in as little as nine months. The treatment system, known locally as the GWIS (Groundwater Improvement System) is capable of treating up to 20 litres of water per second and has ensured that concentrations of PFASs in the islands drinking waters are well below current UK drinking water criteria.


Over the past 15 years Arcadis has built a reputation as a leading global expert and trusted advisor in solving the complex challenges associated with the investigation and remediation of PFASs. We are proud to be supporting Guernsey Airport in managing and mitigating the risks associated with PFASs where, in this challenging island environment, our team of leading experts have developed pragmatic solutions that have led to safeguarding the health, well-being and environment of Guernsey.”
James Lemon, Principal Consultant - Site Evaluation & Restoration, Arcadis
 

Outcomes

1

bespoke solution

20 litres

of water treated per second

15,000 tons

of contaminated soil removed

Questions about this project

James Lemon

Principal Consultant - Site Evaluation & Restoration +44 (0)1223 935011 Ask me a question
Share on Wechat
"Scan QR Code" on WeChat and click ··· to share.