PFAS Thermal Destruction at Wastewater Treatment Facilities: A State of the Science Review
By Winchell, Lloyd J., John J. Ross, Martha JM Wells, Xavier Fonoll, John W. Norton Jr, and Katherine Y. Bell
November 24, 2020
Per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a recalcitrant group of chemicals and can be found throughout the environment. They often collect in wastewater systems with virtually no degradation prior to environmental discharge. Some PFAS partitions to solids captured in wastewater treatment which require further processing. Of all the commonly applied solids treatment technologies, incineration offers the only possibility to completely destroy PFAS. Little is known about the fate of PFAS through incineration, in particular, for the systems employed in wastewater treatment facilities. This review covers available research on the fate of PFAS through incineration systems with a focus on sewage sludge incinerators (SSI). This research indicates that at least some PFAS destruction will occur with incineration approaches used at wastewater treatment facilities. Furthermore, PFAS in flue gas, ash, or water streams used for incinerator pollution control may be undetectable. Future research involving full‐scale fate studies will provide insight on the efficacy of PFAS destruction through incineration and whether other compounds of concern are generated.
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