Oxidation approach to destroying PFAS demonstrated at US facility

The system is described as being safe to operate, environmentally sound, and cost-effective.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) conducted live demonstrations of its industrial Supercritical Water Oxidation (iSCWO) system for destroying PFAS chemicals before a delegation of government, remediation, and waste management company representatives on 29 August.

It appeared to demonstrate the successful destruction of PFAS using an Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) waste feed in a series of back-to-back demonstrations of GA-EMS’ iSCWO system at the company’s dedicated, full-scale system test facility located in San Diego.

A variety of oxidation and other technologies are currently being explored in relation to the disposal of PFAS in substrates such as landfill leachate.

“PFAS chemicals have been used in products since the 1940s and communities today are grappling with the environmental and human health consequences caused by decades of exposure to these forever chemicals,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “It’s time to end the cycle of PFAS contamination for good. We invited legislative and waste industry representatives to witness first-hand iSCWO’s effectiveness in eliminating PFAS, using our commercial technology that has been out of the lab and operational in the field for more than a decade.”

GA-EMS’ iSCWO system processes organic waste with water in an extremely high temperature (650°C) and high pressure (4000 psi) environment to efficiently destroy PFAS and PFAS waste containing other organic co-contaminants. The system is described as being safe to operate, environmentally sound, and cost-effective. There is no post-treatment required, no gas or liquid emissions to deal with, and no hazardous by-products to store, transport, or dispose of.

“We are working with remediation companies to develop plans to integrate our proven iSCWO systems into their waste treatment infrastructures and begin the process of eliminating PFAS from a wide range of waste sources, including landfill leachate, wastewater, biosolids, soils, and water filtration by-products,” continued Forney. “To date, our iSCWO systems have destroyed over 6 million gallons of hazardous and non-hazardous waste with a greater than 99.99% destruction efficiency.”

The EPA issued a detailed report documenting the first-ever test and verification of PFAS destruction efficiency greater than 99.99% using GA-EMS’ industrial-scale SCWO technology. In addition, GA-EMS’ iSCWO system has been successfully tested to destroy more than 200 different types of hazardous and non-hazardous liquids, solids, and slurry waste streams with the same 99.99% plus destruction results.