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Carrie W. Capuco
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Researchers Seek Treatment Strategy for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) in Water

July 17, 2017 (Alexandria, VA)  The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation recently awarded a research contract to The University of Texas at Arlington to develop a practical high-efficiency treatment strategy for challenging perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in water. The project entitled Concept Development of Chemical Treatment Strategy for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)-Contaminated Water (U2R16) will benefit water and health authorities, water utilities, and industrial companies facing challenges with efficiently treating for per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), and other halogenated organic compounds in water.

Some chemical groups known as persistent organic compounds (POCs), are strongly resistant to biochemical decomposition. Halogenated POCs (halo-POCs) are of particular concern because stripping off halogen atoms from them is not an easy task. Due to their unique hydrophobic and oleophobic properties, PFAS such as PFOS have been widely used in many applications (e.g., non-stick cookware, stain repellants, and fire retardants) while potentially contaminating water resources, which has several policy and regulatory implications. Preliminary research found that advanced oxidation integration (AIR) with chemical reduction has high potential to expedite PFOS decomposition. The AIR strategy employs zerovalent iron (Fe) nanoparticles conjugated with common oxidants (FECO). This researach will focus on determining if the FECO system is able to decompose PFOS. The researchers' hypothesis suggests that the AIR strategy has a high potential to decompose PFOS through oxidative decomposition with reductive dehalogenation.

The research team will explore AIR in a controlled manner to decompose PFOS by maximizing the advantages of the technology and overcoming the limitations. The proposed strategy, if successful, might be further supported as a full-scale standard project. The research is anticipated to be completed Fall 2018.
 
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The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) is a nonprofit (501c3) organization officially formed in July 2016 as the result of the merger of the Water Environment Research Foundation and the WateReuse Research Foundation. The merged research foundation, with a combined research portfolio representing over $200 million, conducts research to treat and recover beneficial materials from wastewater, stormwater, and seawater including water, nutrients, energy, and biosolids.