OPEC Systems Engaged by Defence to Install PFAS Removal Technology at Oakey, QLD

OPEC Systems has constructed a waste water treatment plant at the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey, Queensland to remove PFAS compounds from contaminated groundwater.

The waste water treatment plant will commence operations in April 2019 and will use OPEC’s Surface Active Foam Fractionation (SAFF) technology to process up to 250,000 litres of PFAS contaminated groundwater per day.

SAFF technology has been methodically developed and independently tested over several years, and when combined in a treatment train with other polishing technologies, can successfully remediate PFAS contaminated water to below drinking water guidelines.

From an initial field of several dozen potential technology suppliers, OPEC Systems was one of just three companies selected by the Department of Defence to conduct a long term PFAS remediation water treatment trial at a Defence base.

“PFAS remediation technology is in its infancy worldwide, and we have worked extremely hard to create an effective home grown solution to an international problem. I’m immensely proud that, in the face of stiff competition and scrutiny, out team has delivered such an elegant and effective solution,” said OPEC Managing Director, Pete Murphy.

“Using a simple Air In – PFAS Out philosophy, our goal was not just to strip PFAS but to apply the principles of green chemistry which would allow us to deliver minimal waste and zero harm to the environment. The strength of our approach is we have engineered a mechanical way to do this that is fast, efficient, sustainable and cost effective, with the capacity to continuously treat large water volumes. We believe this combination will be a game changer for PFAS remediation,” he said.

PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are organic pollutants of concern found principally in a now discontinued formulation of fire fighting foam.

In 2009, PFOS (one of many PFAS compounds) was listed as a persistent organic pollutant by the United Nations Environment Program. Concerns relate to the potential for long term health risks to people and the environment.

SAFF is a multi-stage process which includes a triple stage foam fractionation procedure, the creation and removal of a PFAS rich hyper-concentrate, and use of final polishing technologies before the certified clean water is safely returned to the environment.

“The two aspects of SAFF technology that distinguish us from other approaches are the use of foam fractionation, which exploits the inbuilt tendency of PFAS contaminates to foam when aerated; and the introduction of a patented vacuum extraction system, which successfully harvests the foaming PFAS compounds.”

The PFAS hyper-concentrate will be removed from the Oakey Defence site for destruction at a certified processing facility.

SAFF has shown it can effectively remove over 99 per cent of target PFAS molecules within 2-3 minutes. Longer processing times allow the restoration of PFAS contaminated water to within drinking water guidelines.

While the system being built for Oakey will be capable of processing up to 250,000 litres of water each day, the technology is modular and scalable, with the capacity to treat systems varying in size from 500 litres per hour to greater than 100,000 litres per hour.

“OPEC Systems has a long history of collaboration with the Department of Defence, and has implemented several environmental remediation projects during the past ten years. We look forward to building on this excellent working relationship, and delivering important remediation work for Oakey residents and the environment.”

Media enquiries: Michelle Mahon: +61 (0) 418 690717

All other enquiries: Peter Murphy: +61 (0) 402 845819

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