Evaluation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) released from two Florida landfills based on mass balance analyses

By Yutao Chen, Hekai Zhang, Yalan Liu, John A Bowden, Timothy G Townsend, and Helena M Solo-Gabriele
Waste Manag
January 21, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2023.12.054

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found at high levels within landfill environments. To assess PFAS distributions, this study aimed to evaluate PFAS mass flux leached from disposed solid waste and within landfill reservoirs by mass balance analyses for two full-scale operational Florida landfills. PFAS mass flux in different aqueous components within landfills were estimated based on PFAS concentrations and water flow rates. For PFAS concentration, 26 PFAS, including 18 perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and 8 PFAA-precursors, were measured in samples collected from the landfills or estimated based on previous studies. Flow rates of aqueous components (rainfall, evapotranspiration, runoff, stormwater, groundwater, leakage, gas condensate, and leachate) were evaluated through the Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance model, water balance, and Darcy's Law. Results showed that the average PFAS mass flux leached from the solid waste standardized by area was estimated as 36.8 g/ha-yr, which was approximately 1 % to 3 % of the total amount of PFAS within the solid waste. The majority of PFAS leached from the solid waste (95 % to 97 %) is captured by the leachate collection system, with other aqueous components representing much smaller fractions (stormwater system at 3 % to 5 %, and gas condensate and groundwater at < 1 %). Also, based on the results, we estimate that PFAS releases will likely occur at least over 40 years. Overall, these results can help prioritize components for waste management and PFAS treatment during the anticipated landfill release periods.

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