Our goal is to develop a new standard for remediation of PFAS in landfills

At Perpetuum, we are developing a new process for leachate water remediation, surpassing the standards for remediation of PFAS currently used in Norway.

«The goal is to create a new benchmark for leachate water remediation», says Director of Projects and Ph.D John Barlindhaug.

The purpose of all landfill activities is to remove hazardous waste and substances harmful for the environment that, for different reasons, should not be recycled back into the ecosystem. Therefore, landfills are an essential part of a circular society, removing hazardous substances from the circle. PFAS is one example of such substances, as the “forever chemicals” contaminate the soil and water, making its way into our bodies through food and water. As it does not disintegrate, the substances accumulate, and too high levels have been linked with health issues such as decreased effect of vaccines, reduced immune systems, fertility problems and cancer.

– Not just “a hole in the ground”

One of the most effective ways of removing PFAS substances from the circle is to deposit the contaminated masses in a landfill. While depositing soil in a landfill may sound like you are “storing it in a hole in the ground”, there is more to the landfill technology.

Perpetuum’s landfills are constructed with a barrier system designed to be completely impermeable, also to water.

[Bilde kommer]

The landfill consists of multiple layers of sturdy liners at the bottom, combined with layers of sand and clay between the liners. When the landfill cell is full, a long term watertight top coating with liners will be constructed, drying out the landfill and stopping the production of leachate water.

How remediation of PFAS in landfill works

Despite appearing as a mere «hole in the ground,» the landfill is a complex and robust structure, with advanced technologies for remediation of PFAS. The contaminated soil is sealed within the landfill – only leachate water generated by precipitation on the landfill (before the top coat is constructed), comes out.

“The water from the PFAS-cell is contaminated with PFAS, but all the water is remediated of the PFAS. Our landfill is not just a solution for storage of contaminated soil, it’s a solution for remediation of PFAS through safe long term storage”, Barlindhaug explains.

A new standard for leachate water remediation?

Perpetuum has separate landfill cells both for PFAS contaminated soil, as well as for other types of ordinary waste. While almost all PFAS are removed from leachate water from our PFAS-cells, nobody in the world, including Perpetuum (2023), removes PFAS from the leachate from ordinary landfill cells, even if there are quite a bit of PFAS in such leachate water as well.

«If we succeed, Perpetuum will have created a new benchmark for leachate water remediation.»
John Barlindhaug, Ph.D. and Director of Projects at Perpetuum

Perpetuum has been working on a project since 2022 to improve the leachate water remediation from our ordinary landfill cells. All leachate water from the landfill is contaminated, primarily with organic pollutants and heavy metals such as lead, zink, copper and similar substances. This water is treated in an oxygen pool once it leaves the deposit cell. Physical, chemical and biological processes in the pool causes some removal of many different substances.

From 2022, a treatment plant with chemical precipitation has been in place, giving an increased removal of organic matter and metals. PFAS is not removed with these methods, but these treatments are important as pre-treatment for PFAS removal. Leachate from ordinary waste is far more complex than leachate from PFAS contaminated soil, and such pre-treatment is important for a more effective PFAS-treatment.

Several different treatment methods for PFAS removal, subsequent to the chemical precipitation, are presently (2023) tested. The aim is to introduce a full scale PFAS-treatment of all leachate water, and not only the leachate from the PFAS cell, in 2024-25.

«If we succeed, Perpetuum will have created a new benchmark for leachate water remediation not only in Norway, but in the world, that might lead to new and improved standards», the Director of Projects explains.

Your trusted service provider for remediation of PFAS

Perpetuum aspires for a world without contamination, and is heavily invested in research and best case practices for remediation of PFAS. If you have a project involving handling and remediation of PFAS, please feel free to contact us.

Questions to any of the content in this article, or do you need asssistance with a PFAS-problem?

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