Letters: November 2022 | AIChE

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Letters: November 2022


Reflecting on Our PFAS Problem

Dear Editor,

I read your August 2022 editorial today on poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We have worked for several years on PFAS projects, and I’m pleased to report that two clients — one in Canada and another in Australia — are treating PFAS-laden soils at ≥30 tons per hour through their thermal desorption equipment. The main waste source is commercial and military airports, where firefighting foams from training and firefighting went in the ground and pose groundwater pollution problems.

The PFAS situation is messy, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thus far has only put forth drinking water limits. More on the EPA status can be had in their “PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021–2024” report. For remediation projects, some agencies have on their own dictated overly stringent limits for the treated soil product and higher-than-standard oxidizer temperatures that unnecessarily drive up treatment cost and fuel use and decrease system capacity. Test data exists that shows that such higher oxidizer temperatures are not warranted.

Thomas F. McGowan, P.E.

President, TMTS Associates, Inc., Atlanta, GA

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