PFAS Release for Spent Granular Activated Carbons in Solid Waste Management Facilities

Investigator: University of Maine
Start Date: January 2023
Award Amount: $150,000

A nationwide per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-laden granular activated carbon (GAC) surge is expected because of the increasing application of GAC to address immediate needs of PFAS mitigation in water sources. Thus, PFAS-laden GAC will likely become progressively more critical for PFAS debate in landfill management. Multiple compounding factors of PFAS structure, waste chemical composition, and physicochemical properties of GAC complicate an over-ruling conclusive statement about PFAS release from GAC surfaces in landfill environment. Therefore, a fundamental level understanding will be of significance to solid waste management industry.

The following objectives drive the project goals:

1. To evaluate commercially available and well-characterized PFAS-laden GACs in terms of PFAS release potential while deciphering release mechanisms.

2. To unravel the effects of PFAS types and molecular properties on PFAS release in single- and multi-solute systems.

3. To demonstrate the effect of pertinent background chemistry elements on PFAS release. The knowledge generated here will be complementary to the ongoing regulatory and practical efforts of waste management facilities relaying to the handling of PFAS-laden solid wastes.