InSite Engineering specializes in helping utilities and industrial clients navigate compliance with changing PFAS regulations imposed by the EPA. At InSite Engineering, we understand the urgency to address this issue and help utilities implement the necessary measures to ensure the safety and quality of their water supply.
InSite Engineering designed and engineered a comprehensive solution for the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority’s (WMEL) Robert M. Hames Water Treatment Plant, which the Water Desalination Report called “the world’s largest PFAS mitigation project.” We have the expertise and capabilities to design a solution for any water system.
Why Does PFAS Matter to the Water and Wastewater Industries?
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pose significant challenges to water and wastewater utilities due to their persistence and potential health risks. These substances are a family of more than 9,000 synthetic compounds that prevent things from sticking to each other, like non-stick coatings on cookware to pizza boxes. PFAS takes centuries to break down, making them “forever chemicals” and “everywhere chemicals.”
PFAS regulations are changing because some adverse health effects may occur at concentrations near zero, and lowering the levels in drinking water decreases the risk to public health. Some water systems have more than 2,000 times the maximum allowed amount.
PFAS Effects on Human Health
PFAS has become a significant cause for concern due to its potential health effects on humans. Studies have linked these highly persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals to adverse effects on liver function, kidney function, immune system response, and endocrine disruption. Additionally, certain PFAS compounds have been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, such as kidney and testicular cancer. The potential for developmental and reproductive effects, including reduced fetal growth, premature birth, and altered hormone levels, is also a significant concern. Given the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure, addressing these contaminants in water and wastewater systems is essential to minimize public health impacts and liability.
What the EPA's PFOA and PFOS Regulations Mean for the Water & Wastewater Industry
Initial PFAS regulations limit Perfluorooctanaoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), GenX Chemicals (a PFOA replacement), and Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) (a PFOS replacement. The regulations limit these substances in parts per trillion (ppt).
Health Advisory Value (ppt)
Minimum Reporting Level (ppt)
PFAS Detection and Monitoring
We utilize state-of-the-art technology and analytical techniques to detect and monitor PFAS levels in water and wastewater. Our comprehensive approach allows for accurate assessments, providing crucial data to develop targeted mitigation strategies.
Our team assists utilities in developing robust compliance management plans to meet the regulatory requirements of PFAS monitoring and reporting. We provide guidance on sampling protocols, data interpretation, and reporting procedures to help utilities maintain compliance and meet regulatory deadlines.
Treatment System Design and Implementation For PFAS Remediation
InSite Engineering works closely with utilities to design and implement advanced treatment systems to effectively remove PFAS contaminants. We tailor solutions to match each client’s specific needs, ensuring efficient and cost-effective removal of PFAS compounds. We utilize Microfiltration (MF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), and Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) technologies to address PFAS contamination in water and wastewater utilities.
Microfiltration for PFAS Removal
Microfiltration (MF) is a membrane technology that effectively removes suspended solids, bacteria, and larger particles from water. MF membranes have a pore size of around 0.1 – 10 micrometers, allowing for the removal of particulate matter and some larger PFAS compounds. By incorporating MF into the treatment system, utilities can achieve a significant reduction in PFAS concentrations.
Reverse Osmosis for PFAS Removal
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a highly effective membrane process that uses pressure to separate ions, molecules, and contaminants from water. RO membranes have a much smaller pore size, typically around 0.0001 micrometers, which enables the removal of smaller PFAS compounds and other contaminants. The addition of RO in the treatment process after MF further enhances the removal of PFAS from the water or wastewater stream, ensuring an extra layer of protection.
Granulated Activated Carbon for PFAS Removal
Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration is a widely used method for removing organic contaminants, including PFAS compounds, from water. GAC has a high surface area and adsorption capacity, allowing it to effectively capture and remove a wide range of contaminants. GAC is commonly used as a standalone treatment method and in conjunction with membrane processes like MF and RO. By adding a GAC filtration stage, utilities can target PFAS compounds that may not be effectively removed by membranes alone, further enhancing the overall treatment process.
By integrating MF, RO, and GAC technologies into the engineering solution, InSite Engineering ensures a multi-barrier approach to PFAS removal, providing utilities with robust treatment capabilities. Our team of experts will design and optimize the treatment system that accounts for feedwater quality, PFAS concentrations, and system capacity to deliver a tailored and effective solution for each utility’s specific requirements.
Contact us today to learn more about how InSite Engineering can support your utility in implementing effective PFAS compliance solutions. Trust us to be your partner in safeguarding the quality of your water supply in the face of impending PFAS regulations from the EPA.