Creating intelligent PFAS solutions
For more than 25 years OPEC Systems has been designing, supplying, installing and maintaining intelligent environmental engineering solutions for Australian industry and government. Over the past 3 years OPEC scientists have been pioneering a range of high efficiency systems for extracting Per- and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from contaminated soil and water sources.
PFAS refers to a group of compounds used in a range of industrial applications including fire-fighting activities at fire training grounds and airports using Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). Many of these compounds are not amenable to environmental degradation and a growing body of research suggests they pose significant, long-term threats to human and environmental health.
OPEC’s Suite of PFAS Remediation Technologies
Surface Activation Foam Fractionation (SAFF)
OPEC SAFF Systems range in size from small household units able to process several hundred litres of contaminated water a day to large commercial units able to process hundreds of thousands of litres per day.
The SAFF process is a portable, containerised, continuous water treatment system which utilises the natural physiochemistry of PFAS compounds to adhere to fine air bubbles rising through a narrow water column. As the bubbles rise they are exceptionally effective in collecting PFAS compounds which are loosely bound to the water molecules.
The PFAS compounds accumulate at the top of the column as a rich foam which the SAFF system detects and automatically vacuums off and separates. As the water flows through hundreds of interconnected SAFF columns within the system, any PFAS is progressively stripped out and the water is very effectively polished down to drinking water standards.
The relatively low volume of PFAS concentrate which the system produces is split off from the clean water and directed to a low-pressure evaporation process which further distils and reduces the waste stream to create a PFAS hyper-concentrate. For every megalitre of water treated the SAFF system produces only a few litres of hyper-concentrate thereby dramatically reducing overall disposal costs.
Downhole Foam Fractionation (DFF)
Our scientists have worked collaboratively with our clients to develop and patent a mechanical, efficient and cost effective ‘downhole’ solution for removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from groundwater.
The OPEC Downhole Foam Fractionation (DFF) system removes these potentially hazardous compounds, so that groundwater quality can be restored. It does so by foaming out priority PFAS compounds in-situ within specially designed groundwater wells, which can be strategically positioned within and on the boundaries of contaminated aquifers.
OPEC’s DFF system works by scavenging surface-active PFAS contaminants from solution within groundwater and collecting them in a recoverable foam medium at the top of the wells. A patented foam harvesting system is then used to concentrate, break and remove the PFAS-enriched concentrate from the wells and return it to a centralised control station, where it is further refined into a PFAS hyper-concentrate for offsite removal and disposal/destruction.
• Over 99% removal of PFOS and PFOA from groundwater within minutes of foam fractionation being initiated
• Testing results for 31 TOPA-PFAS Analytes
• Found to be effective on a minimum of 11 other PFAS compounds including PFHxS and 6:2FTS
Borehole Foam Fractionation (BFF)
A portable, skid mounted 240v system designed to be fitted to bore outlets to remove PFAS from bore waters prior to use on crops or stock.
In-situ extraction of PFAS compounds from contaminated soils using a combination of soil liquefaction and foam fractionation.
The assessment of the lab and field trials was conducted by NATA-approved laboratories using extended PFAS methods. Results and findings were peer reviewed by renowned international PFAS remediation experts.