PFAS in the environment are an ongoing issue we have addressed in previous posts. They are chemicals that can be found in everyday products. PFAS get into the environment as they break down and if not disposed of effectively can be found in water and soil They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they are difficult to remove due to their strong bond. Currently, the only way to remove them is through high temperature incineration.
The Harmful Effects of PFAS
Exposure to PFAS can affect the health of humans and animals. Notable conditions tied to PFAS include developmental delays, increased risk of some cancers, reduced immune response and others. As the data on effects of these chemicals grow, the EPA has an increasing concern on the impact of both adults and children. In addition, the amount of waste in landfills has only continued to grow increasing the likelihood of PFAS getting into the environment.
Continued Increased Regulation by the EPA
Due to this growing concern, the EPA recently announced that the allowable levels in drinking water they set a few years ago are too high. It will be proposing a PFAS National Drinking Water Regulation as soon as in the fall of this year. These regulations will likely have a big impact on how drinking water is regulated.
Removal of PFAS
PFAS can only be removed at high temperatures and some landfills and wastewater treatment plants do not currently have equipment that can accommodate this. However, with only minor modification, both multiple hearth furnaces and fluidized bed incinerators can reach temperatures high enough to remove PFAS. Multiple hearth furnaces do have a slight advantage as they can reach higher temperatures than fluidized bed incinerators and can be upgraded for less cost. Multi hearth furnaces also have a number of advantages over a sludge dryer for PFAs removal.
Preparing for the Not too Far Off Future
With continued and increasing regulation by the EPA, the ability for landfills and wastewater treatment plants to remove PFAS will only become more important. These institutions need to prepare now for the regulations that are forthcoming. The modification of existing equipment like a multiple hearth furnace or fluidized bed incinerator as opposed to a new piece of equipment will save both money and time.
Industrial Furnace Company can upgrade an existing industrial furnace or incinerator to meet current EPA regulations that include the destruction of PFAs. Contact us for more information.