Clean Earth, a division of Enviri that offers an environmental and regulated waste management services, has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a PFAS remediation and destruction research study.
The initiative “combines and compares” remediation technologies for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, particularly methods that focus on water source remediation, soil treatment, and PFAS destruction, according to the DOD. The DOD originally announced the initiative in November, and Clean Earth announced new details of the project on Monday.
Clean Earth, which touts a “toolbox” of different PFAS management methods and services methods, plans to accept and treat PFAS-impacted waste at one of its offsite locations. It will work with PFAS remediation companies Aquagga, Arcadis and 374Water on the process, the companies said in a news release. Battelle and General Atomics will also work with the DOD on additional PFAS destruction projects, and five additional companies will target soil and water remediation, the DOD said.
The PFAS-containing material will be collected from two DOD bases in Pennsylvania: the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Biddle Air National Guard Base in Horsham Township. A major source of PFAS on military bases and other DOD installations is aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, which was used for years to suppress fires and has sometimes migrated into soil and groundwater, the DOD said in the release. A separate water source remediation study will take place at the same bases.
By working with this cohort of companies, the DOD hopes to learn more about how to manage PFAS in the field “for a variety of scenarios,” said Richard “Hunter” Anderson, an environmental scientist from the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center who will help evaluate project performance and costs.
The project will also help the participating companies streamline and scale up commercialization of their PFAS remediation techniques, said Craig Divine, a senior vice president and project principal investigator at Arcadis, in a statement.
"This proof of concept will demonstrate our team’s capability to successfully remediate this critical environmental issue,” said Jeff Beswick, Clean Earth’s president, in a statement.
The partnership comes as more waste and organics businesses are considering whether to hire environmental services companies to provide PFAS remediation for landfill leachate or other issues.
PFAS management has recently become a bigger priority for Enviri, which it sees as a business growth opportunity. Earlier in January, Clean Earth announced it would form ReSolve, a new program focusing specifically on PFAS remediation and management. Enviri is formerly known as Harsco Corp.
The waste industry is awaiting several key regulatory updates from the U.S. EPA that could affect the PFAS remediation market. The EPA could finalize national drinking water standards for certain PFAS as early as this month, and it is expected to designate two types of PFAS as hazardous substances sometime in March.
The EPA could also soon update its guidance on landfilling, incineration or deep well injection of PFAS-containing material, and that update may have new details or insight into each method’s environmental effects, which could have implications for what types of remediation technologies waste companies and entities like the DOD may choose.