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Title:
ENHANCED SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR TREATMENT OF SOIL AND GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATED WITH PFAS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/113268
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method and enhancements for the decontamination of water containing one or more PFAS contaminants includes introducing a foaming agent into the water, and injecting a gas through a diffuser and into the water so as to form a plurality of bubbles in the water, the one or more PFAS contaminants accumulating on the plurality of bubbles. The plurality of bubbles is allowed to rise, forming a foam at the surface of the water. The resulting foam is then collected and transported away from the surface of the water, where it condenses into a liquid and is treated to regulatory standards.

Inventors:
NELSON, Christopher (2417 N. Rocky View Road, Castle Rock, CO, 80108, US)
Application Number:
US2018/064163
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
December 06, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EMINUS, LLC (2417 N. Rocky View Road, Castle Rock, CO, 80108, US)
International Classes:
A62D3/00; B09C1/08; C02F1/68
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHURR, Donald A. et al. (Four SeaGate - 8th Floor, Toledo, OH, 43604, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED:

1. A method for the decontamination of water containing one or more PFAS contaminants, comprising:

introducing a foaming agent into the water;

injecting a gas through a diffuser and into the water so as to form a plurality of bubbles in the water, the one or more PFAS contaminants

accumulating on the plurality of bubbles;

allowing the plurality of bubbles to rise, forming a foam at the surface of the water; and

collecting the foam from the surface of the water.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the diffuser is positioned within a groundwater well and below the surface of the groundwater when the gas is injected through the diffuser and into the water.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the groundwater well is provided with at least one influent screen portion and at least one effluent screen portion.

4. The method of claim 1 , further comprising, prior to injecting the gas through the diffuser, creating a groundwater well and positioning the diffuser within the groundwater well and below the surface of the groundwater.

5. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is injected through a diffuser and into the water so as to form a plurality of bubbles in the water having an average diameter of greater than or equal to 50 microns and less than or equal to 5 mm.

6. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is injected through a diffuser and into the water so as to form a plurality of bubbles in the water having an average diameter of greater than or equal to 0.5 mm and less than or equal to 2 mm.

7. The method of claim 1 , wherein the diffuser is comprised of a plurality of pores having a nominal pore size of greater than or equal to 5 microns and less than or equal to 25 microns. 8. The method of claim 1 , further comprising transporting the foam to a knock-out vessel where condensed liquid containing the one or more PFAS contaminants is collected.

9. The method of claim 8, further comprising removing the condensed liquid containing the one or more PFAS contaminants from the knock-out vessel and treating the one or more PFAS contaminants.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the knock-out vessel is in communication with a vacuum source.

11. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is comprised of air.

12. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is more than 80% nitrogen.

13. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is 95% or more nitrogen.

14. The method of claim 1 , wherein the gas is 99% or more nitrogen. 15. The method of claim 1 , wherein the foam is collected from the surface of the water by a foam capturing device that is in communication with a vacuum source.

16. The method of claim 2, further comprising transporting the foam to a knock-out vessel by a positive displacement pump positioned in the groundwater well.

17. The method of claim 1 , wherein an oxidizing gas is added to the gas before it is injected into the diffuser, the oxidizing gas being utilized to oxidize PFAS precursors. 18. The method of claim 16, wherein the oxidizing gas is ozone.

19. The method of claim 14, wherein the foam is collected from the surface of the water with a foam capturing device that provides additional surface area for foam capture with a larger diameter than a pipe connected to the foam capturing device.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the foam capturing device is comprised of a floating material so as to accommodate fluctuating groundwater tables.

21. The method of claim 1 , wherein the one or more PFAS

contaminants are one or more long-chain PFAS constituents.

22. The method of claim 1 , wherein the one or more PFAS

contaminants are one or more short-chain PFAS constituents.

23. The method of claim 1 , wherein the one or more PFAS

contaminants are comprised of PFOA or PFOS or both. 24. The method of claim 1 , wherein the foaming agent is comprised of alpha olefin sulfonate, Castile soap, decyl glucoside, cocamido propyl hydroxysulatine, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, cocamidopropylamine oxide, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium

cocoamphoacetate, lauryl glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, decyl glucoside, sodium lauroyl lactylate, myristic acid, decyl glucoside, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium lauryl sulfate, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate.

25. The method of claim 1 , wherein the foaming agent is comprised of sodium lauryl sulfate.

26. The method of claim 15, wherein the foam capturing device comprises a porous extraction device that encompasses the width of the treatment well and produces a uniform vacuum across its bottom surface.

27. The method of claim 15, further comprising mechanical adjustment capabilities to adjust the vertical position of the foam capturing device to accommodate a change in water level.

28. The method of claim 1 , wherein the one or more PFAS contaminants have a hydrophilic functional group and a hydrophobic tail.

Description:
TITLE

ENHANCED SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR TREATMENT OF SOIL AND GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATED WITH PFAS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a method and device for the decontamination of a media, such as groundwater or groundwater and soil, containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and related compounds such as PFAS precursors, collectively referred to as PFAS contaminants. More specifically, the invention relates to a system and method for concentrating and removing PFAS contaminants from soil and groundwater, preferably using in-situ gas injection with a foaming agent and collection of the resulting foam.

PFAS are contained in fire-fighting agents such as aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) and as such have they been used extensively at facilities such as military bases and airports over the past fifty years. They have also been used in the manufacture of many consumer goods for grease repellency and water-proofing. More recently, long-chain PFAS in particular have been shown to bioaccumulate, persist in the environment, and be toxic to laboratory animals, wildlife, and humans. As a result of these observations, on May 19, 2016 U.S. EPA established a health advisory level for the long-chain PFAS constituents; perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water. Some U.S. States and other Countries have even lower guidance levels.

PFAS have unique chemistry. The carbon-fluorine bond is one of the strongest bonds in nature and it is very difficult break. In addition, PFOA and PFOS, for example, have a fluorinated carbon tail that preferentially partitions out of the aqueous (water) phase and a hydrophilic functional group that partitions into the aqueous phase. (See Figure 1.) This causes these substances to preferentially accumulate at air/water interfaces.

Because of these characteristics, traditional in-situ remediation technologies such as chemical reduction, chemical oxidation, and bioremediation have not been shown to be effective in treating PFAS. Thermal treatment can be effective, however very high temperatures are needed

(greater than 1 ,770 degrees F) for complete destruction thereby making in-situ treatment either impracticable or very expensive. Groundwater pump and treat systems can remove PFAS however they are not effective at removing large amounts of contaminant mass and they are also very costly since these systems tend to operate over long periods of time, typically decades. Some success has been reported using immobilization where for example PFAS waste is mixed with clay and aluminum hydroxide. Long term success with the technology under in-situ conditions has not been demonstrated.

Conventional water treatment processes such as

coagulation/flocculation /sedimentation and filtration are not effective for the removal of PFAS. Past research has also demonstrated that commonly used advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) such as ultraviolet light (UV) or ozone with peroxide are not effective for PFAS degradation, due to the stability of the carbon-fluorine bond. The most commonly used treatment technology is granular activated carbon (GAC), although short breakthrough times have been reported for certain compounds. Additionally, there has been limited work evaluating the effectiveness of GAC with a real groundwater matrix that potentially contains a myriad of PFAS and other contaminants, particularly short-chain PFAS that may be AFFF-derived. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a method and system capable of treating PFAS contaminated soil and water in-situ. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a method and system for treating PFAS contaminated media, in particular saturated soil and groundwater. This invention exploits the unique structure of PFAS, in particular those substances with a hydrophilic functional group attached to a hydrophobic fluorinated carbon chain such as PFOA and PFOS shown in Figure 1. Generally the method involves introducing a foaming agent into the water, and a gas such as air is injected into a fine bubble diffuser that is placed near the bottom of a groundwater well. Fine (less than 5 mm diameter) bubbles are preferred over larger sizes since fine bubbles tend to rise in a zigzag or helical motion in a water column which results in slower rise velocity as compared to larger bubbles. This results in more contact time for the bubble to interact with the PFAS contaminated water. In addition fine bubbles have a larger surface area for the PFAS contaminants to accumulate from the aqueous phase.

Since the bubbles are less dense than water, they rise to the water surface where they accumulate as a layer of foam. The foam is removed by applying a vacuum to a foam collection device that is located in the foam head and above the groundwater table. Once the foam/air mixture is removed from the well it is piped to a knock-out vessel where the foam condenses to a liquid and the air is discharged.

Given the appropriate site geology and well screen intervals, the method described above has the additional benefit of providing groundwater

recirculation since the injected air causes water to migrate up and out of the upper recharge screen (see Figure 2). Once this happens, water is drawn into the bottom of the well through an influent screen portion and discharged through an effluent screen portion at the top of the well, thereby setting up a water recirculation system. The influent and effluent screen portions can be formed by one or more influent screens that are separate from one or more effluent screens. Flowever, wells with continuous screens can also function in this manner. This increases the radius of influence of the treatment well which means less wells are required to treat a given area. Alternatively or in concurrence, groundwater can be pumped using in-well pumps to increase the horizontal or vertical radius of influence and efficiency of the treatment wells.

This technology can be adapted to a variety of site conditions and implemented in source areas with high PFAS concentrations as well as down-gradient locations with lower PFAS concentrations.

Generally, the system requires a groundwater well screened at appropriate depths based on site-specific geology and PFAS location in the subsurface. An air injection blower or pump is connected to a fine pore diffuser located in the water column. Air is injected into the fine pore diffuser where bubbles are created and PFAS partitions into the air/water interfaces of the bubbles. The bubbles rise and form a foam at the groundwater table. The foam is removed from the well by a vacuum extraction blower or pump. The foam is piped into a sealed knock-out drum or other knock-out vessel, where it condenses into a liquid and the air is discharged. The liquid concentrate can be further treated using thermal incineration, for example, either on- or off-site. The air discharge can be further treated on-site using activated carbon, for example, if necessary.

This invention can be configured as described above with a network of vertical wells and with other configurations including but not limited to a network of horizontal foam generation and collection wells, well networks with separate pumping wells, and groundwater interceptor trenches with internal recirculation wells. Above-ground configurations are also possible using surface mounted tanks instead of groundwater wells. Several system enhancements of the basic invention are described in the Detailed Description of the Invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is best understood from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying figures. It is emphasized that, according to common practice, the various features on the drawings are not to scale. Instead, the dimensions of the various features are arbitrarily expanded or reduced for clarity.

Figure 1 is a chemical representation of the PFAS contaminates PFOS and PFOA. In addition, this figure shows the preference of PFOS and PFOA to accumulate at air/water interfaces given their unique chemical structure, with a hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail.

Figure 2 is a process schematic of an exemplary system for in-situ treatment of PFAS contaminated soil and groundwater using foam generation and extraction.

Figure 3 is a schematic representation showing the addition foaming agents to the treatment system to enhance the removal of low concentrations of PFAS from water that has limited foaming potential. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein with reference to specific embodiments, the invention is not intended to be limited to the details shown. Rather various modifications may be made in the details within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims and without departing from the invention.

Generally, the present invention includes a method and system for removing PFAS from contaminated soil and groundwater. The invention is best understood by referring to Figure 2. A groundwater well is drilled in an area with PFAS contamination, 1 shows ground surface, 2 indicates the groundwater level, 3 shows the well bore, and 4 shows the well casing, typically PVC. The well is designed to accommodate site-specific conditions including the contaminate location and site hydrogeology. In this particular example, the well is constructed with an upper discharge or effluent screen 14 and a lower influent screen 15. The rest of the well is constructed with blank (solid) PVC. Sandpack is also inserted into the well bore adjacent to the well screens.

A bubble diffuser 6, preferably a fine pore diffuser comprised of a plurality of pores having a nominal pore size ranging from 5 to 25 microns, inclusive, that is capable of producing bubbles having an average diameter of greater than or equal to 50 microns and less than or equal to 5 mm, and preferably having an average diameter of greater than or equal to 0.5 mm and less than or equal to 2 mm, is connected to a positive pressure air blower or pump 5. Air is injected into the diffuser 6 which produces bubbles 7. There may be more than one diffuser used especially if the water column in the well is long, generally longer than 10 feet. Alternatively, vertical tube diffusers can be used. Fine pore diffusers can be made of ceramics, polypropylene, porous materials, or other membrane material.

The air/water interface of the bubbles attract PFAS in the aqueous phase as the bubbles migrate vertically. Once the bubbles reach the

groundwater surface, they form a layer of foam 8. The foam is removed from the well by a foam capturing device 9 which is connected to a vacuum source 13, such as a vacuum extraction blower or pump. The foam capturing device provides additional surface area for foam capture with a larger diameter than the connecting pipe. In its simplest configuration, the foam capturing device 9 is an adjustable expansion chamber connected to the end of the vacuum pipe. In addition, a funnel-shaped device or fine screen may be inserted in or above the foam head to assist with foam accumulation, concentration, and capture. More complicated configurations may include floating foam capturing devices that are made of a floating material connected to a vacuum extraction tube. A device like this would accommodate fluctuating groundwater tables and minimize operation and maintenance. This device might otherwise be adjustable, such that the vertical position of the foam capturing device 9 can be readily changed in response to fluctuating groundwater tables. Treatment wells with a deep water table may need to use an in-well pump such as a positive air displacement pump to pump foam and/or concentrate to the surface for collection to overcome vacuum limitations at depth.

The foam is transported by vacuum or positive pressure into a sealed knock-out vessel 10 where it condenses into a liquid 11 and it is periodically removed through a valve 12 for further treatment by, for example, high temperature incineration. Air is discharged from the negative pressure blower or pump 13 where it may be treated using activated carbon, for example.

Producing bubbles in the well, as described above, causes the water column in the well to migrate vertically since it is less dense than the

surrounding water. When the well is screened with upper 14 and lower 15 screens, groundwater recirculation is produced as shown by groundwater discharging from the upper screen in the direction of arrow 17 and recharging into the lower screen in the direction of arrow 16. This increases the radius of influence of the well and increases the rate of removal of PFAS from the subsurface. A well with a continuous screen, wherein a lower part of the screen defines an influent screen portion and an upper part of the screen defines an effluent screen portion, can also function in this manner. Depending on the site-specific hydrogeology and length of the water column being treated, separate groundwater pumping wells can be used to recirculate groundwater and increase the radius of influence. To further increase the efficiency PFAS removal a foaming agent may be introduced into the water column via a low-flow pump 18 and a small diameter tube 19. This embodiment of the invention enhances foam formation for groundwater containing low PFAS concentrations and also enhances the PFAS removal efficiency to meet low clean-up advisory levels. A preferred foaming agent is sodium lauryl sulfate.

In embodiments where the concentration of PFAS in the water is low, it may be preferable for the foaming agent to be introduced concurrently with the gas injection through the diffuser. In embodiments where the concentration of the PFAS in the water is relatively high, it may be preferable to inject the gas through the diffuser initially, and introduce the foaming agent into the water later, after the PFAS has been decreased.

The invention can also be combined with other technologies such as in- situ oxidation to convert PFAS precursors into more extractable substances such as PFOA and PFOS, and soil washing to increase PFAS desorption from soil. Gases other than air may also be used including but not limited to the addition of nitrogen to enhance foam formation and stability and the addition of an oxidizing gas preferably ozone, to oxidize PFAS precursors. Thus, in an embodiment of the invention, the gas injected into the one or more diffusers is greater than 80% nitrogen by volume, preferably 95% or more nitrogen, and more preferably 99% or more nitrogen. Amendments such as surfactants may also be injected into the treatment area to increase the removal of PFAS sorbed to soil, especially short-chain PFAS.

In embodiments where an oxidizing gas such as ozone is added to oxidize PFAS precursors, it may be preferable to add the oxidizing gas in an initial step, then add air/nitrogen in a subsequent step to minimize the unproductive reaction of ozone with the foaming agent(s).

PFAS contaminants are unique compared to other groundwater contaminants such as benzene or trichloroethylene (TCE). These

contaminants typically occur in groundwater at concentrations ranging from percent to parts per million (ppm) levels and they have regulatory clean-up standards typically set at parts per billion (ppb) levels. By comparison, remediating PFAS in groundwater is very challenging. As stated previously, U.S. EPA has established a health advisory level for PFAS constituents perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water. Some U.S. States and other Countries have even lower guidance levels. Typical PFAS groundwater concentrations range from parts per billion (ppb) to parts per trillion levels (ppt) levels. Given these very low concentrations and even lower drinking water advisory levels, any removal or treatment process needs to be very efficient in order to meet the health advisory standards.

There are special aspects of this invention that meet this requirement.

In particular it is important to generate small bubbles that uniformly contact the water in the well and produce a stable foam head that can be efficiently removed. In order to achieve these conditions, especially with groundwater containing low PFAS concentrations, there are certain enhancements that can be applied to the basic invention.

Foaming agents can be injected into the water column as shown in Figure 2. Typically these reagents are injected under low flow conditions to establish concentrations in the water column in the low ppm range. The goal is to enhance bubble formation and a stable foam head when PFAS

concentrations are low. Research conducted by the applicant on several PFAS contaminated groundwaters indicate that PFAS concentrations in the low ppb range often require a foaming agent addition to achieve optimum foaming conditions. It should be noted that even though these PFAS concentrations are low they are still hundreds or thousands times above the health advisory levels of 70 ppt or less.

A foaming agent is a surface active agent that reduces surface tension when dissolved in water or water solutions, or that reduces interfacial tension between two liquids, or between a liquid and a solid; and in this embodiment facilitates the formation of a foam when a gas comes into contact with it.

Examples of surface active agents include detergents, wetting agents, and emulsifiers. Examples of foaming agents that may be used with this invention include alpha olefin sulfonate, Castile soap, decyl glucoside, cocamido propyl hydroxysulatine, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, cocamidopropylamine oxide, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium

cocoamphoacetate, lauryl glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, decyl glucoside, sodium lauroyl lactylate, myristic acid, decyl glucoside, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium lauryl sulfate, disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl ether sulfate or similar substances.

A potential mechanism of the foaming agent enhancement process is shown schematically in Figure 3. The top of the figure shows a stable foam head on top of the water surface. The bottom of the figure shows a typical bubble in the foam head. In this case, the bubble is comprised of primarily foaming agent with a small amount of PFAS. Both the foaming agent and PFAS will form bubbles when gas is injected into the water column. The PFAS shown is not present in sufficient quantities to form a bubble by itself however by adding foaming agent to the water column the PFAS/foaming agent mixture can now form a stable bubble that can be extracted from the water. Thus the foaming agent acts as a PFAS scavenger under low PFAS concentration conditions where the foaming agent helps to scavenge low PFAS

concentrations that are not capable of forming stable bubbles or foam on their own.

Another enhancement is to use nitrogen as the injection gas. Nitrogen is an inert gas that forms a more uniform and stable foam head as compared to other reactive injection gases such as air or carbon dioxide. This produces a foam head more amenable to efficient extraction.

Another enhancement to the invention is to use a porous extraction device that encompasses the width of the treatment well and produces a uniform vacuum across its bottom surface. This allows it be placed and adjusted to maintain close proximity to the foam head without contacting the water column. To maintain these conditions the porous extraction device may be mounted on a floating material or be mechanically adjustable to accommodate fluctuating groundwater conditions. An example of this device is a cylindrical ceramic aeration stone that is placed under vacuum. With this device, as soon as foam is produced it is immediately removed so that the PFAS contaminants do not have time to dissolve back into the water column.

The following examples, which constitute the best mode presently contemplated by the inventor for practicing the present invention, are presented solely for the purpose of further illustrating and disclosing the present invention, and are not to be construed as a limitation on the invention.

Groundwater samples from two sites (designated as N000 and Z000) with PFAS contamination were used for laboratory test to demonstrate the performance of the invention. The analytical data for these sites is shown below.

Table 1. Site N000 PFAS Concentrations

Carbon

Analyte # Units Initial

Note: BDL = Below Detection Limit Table 2. Site ZOOO PFAS Concentrations

Carbon

Analyte # Units Initial

Note: BDL = Below Detection Limit

As can be seen from the above tables, the sites have similar types of PFAS, the primary difference is the concentrations, where site Z000 has much higher concentrations that are indicative of a source area nearby.

Laboratory batch tests were conducted in one-liter graduated cylinders as a model for the groundwater treatment wells shown in Figure 2. The test vessels were sparged with air or nitrogen (99% by volume) which produced a layer of foam on top of the water column that was subsequently removed by a collection tube placed under vacuum. The gases were sparged into the groundwater using either a Small or Large Diffuser. A ceramic fine bubble diffuser with nominal pore size of 25 microns was used as the Large Diffuser and a stainless steel porous metal sparger tube with a nominal pore size of 5 micron was used as the Small Diffuser. Both diffusers had similar surface areas. Diffusers with larger pore sizes were tested; however, it was determined that they were not able to produce acceptable foams. The remaining water in the test vessel was then sent for PFAS analysis using EPA Method 537 (modified).

TEST 1 : The first experimental test was designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of air in removing PFAS from water. The Large Diffuser with a nominal pore size of 25 microns was used in this test. The experimental test conditions and results for this testing are shown in Table 3. PFHxS, PFOA, and PFOS were used as PFAS indicators for these tests. Table 3 - Effectiveness of Air Sparging, Large Diffuser, Z000 Groundwater

As can be seen in Table 3, air was very effective in removing PFAS from water under these test conditions.

TEST 2: The second experimental test was set-up to investigate the difference between air and nitrogen sparging. It was hypothesized that under the same conditions, nitrogen should be more efficient than air since nitrogen is non-reactive and tends to form smaller bubbles than air when injected in water. In addition, nitrogen should decrease chemical and biological fouling of the sparging system during in-situ operation of the D-FAS system as compared to air especially for anaerobic aquifers. The Large Diffuser with a nominal pore size of 25 microns was used in this test. The experimental test conditions and results for this testing are shown in Table 4. PFHxS, PFOA, and PFOS were used as PFAS indicators for these tests. Table 4 - Air vs. Nitrogen Performance Comparison, Large Diffuser, Z000 Groundwater

As can be seen in Table 4, nitrogen outperformed air with similar run times of 4 minutes and PFAS foam volumes ranging from 140 to 150 ml.

However nitrogen was able to produce a similar volume of concentrate at one- half the flow rate of air and water PFAS concentrations that were less than the air sparged system. This test showed that nitrogen was more efficient than air in removing PFAS from water under these test conditions.

TEST 3: The third experimental test evaluated the difference of gas bubble size in PFAS removal from water. It was hypothesized that under the same conditions, small bubbles would be more efficient in removing PFAS from water than larger bubbles, since smaller bubbles have more total surface area and enhance the likelihood of contact of PFAS with a gas bubble in the water column.

The experimental conditions are summarized in Table 5. PFHxS, PFOA, and PFOS were used as PFAS indicators for these tests. A ceramic fine bubble diffuser with nominal pore size of 25 microns was used as the Large Diffuser and a stainless steel porous metal sparger tube with a nominal pore size of 5 micron was used as the Small Diffuser. As a point of reference, the Large Diffuser produced bubbles averaging about 1 mm in diameter whereas the Small Diffuser produced bubbles averaging about 0.2 mm in diameter under these test conditions. Table 5 - Large Diffuser vs. Small Diffuser, Nitrogen, Z000 Groundwater

As can be seen in Table 5, the Small Diffuser outperformed the Large Diffuser in PFAS removal from water by a considerable margin. The conclusion from this test was that the Small Diffuser was much more efficient that the Large Diffuser in removing PFAS from water under these test conditions, even though both are considered fine bubble diffusers.

TEST 4: The fourth experimental test was set-up to evaluate using nitrogen and the Small Diffuser to remove low levels of PFAS using the low concentration (N000) groundwater. As with previous nitrogen tests, the flow rate was set at 2 liters per minute and the test was run for 4 minutes. To further evaluate the data, removal efficiencies for all measured PFAS are shown below in Table 6 below. They are arranged according to carbon chain length.

Table 6. Low Concentration (N000 Groundwater) PFAS Removal by Carbon Number, Small Diffuser, Nitrogen

Carbon # Units Initial Final % Reduction

Note: U = Below Detection Limit so percent reductions may have been greater than the reported value.

As can be seen in Table 6, PFAS was removed from water under these experimental conditions, even though the starting concentrations were substantially less than the previous tests using Z000 groundwater. Another observation is that the PFAS removal efficiency appears to increase as the PFAS carbon chain length increases. It appears that, since the mechanism of separation occurs at the air/water interface, the long chain PFAS are removed more efficiently than the short chain PFAS. This led to the design of TEST 5 described below, to further investigate this observation.

TEST 5: A fifth test was set-up to determine if experimental conditions can be optimized for both short and long chain PFAS removal. Z000

groundwater was used for this evaluation. As with previous nitrogen tests, the flow rate was set at 2 liters per minute and the test was run for 4 minutes. As a basis of comparison, the results from TEST 1 are presented in an expanded PFAS format showing all measured PFAS and arranged according to carbon chain length as shown in Table 7.

Table 7. High Concentration (Z000 Groundwater) PFAS Removal by Carbon Number, Large Diffuser, Air

Analyte Carbon # Units Initial Final % Reduction

Note: U = Below Detection Limit so percent may have been greater than the reported value. This experimental test was set-up to evaluate using nitrogen and the

Small Diffuser to remove PFAS using the high concentration (Z000)

groundwater. As with previous nitrogen tests, the flow rate was set at 2 liters per minute and the test was run for 4 minutes. Test results are shown in Table 8. Table 8. High Concentration (Z000 Groundwater) PFAS Removal by Carbon Number, Small Diffuser, Nitrogen

Analyte Carbon # Units Initial Final % Reduction

Note: U = Below Detection Limit so percent reductions may have been greater than the reported value.

As illustrated by the data in Table 8, these test conditions greatly increased the PFAS removal efficiency for all PFAS as compared to the PFAS removal efficiencies shown in Table 7. There is some apparent preference for long chain PFAS removal over short chain PFAS removal, however this data shows that it is possible to remove long and short carbon chain PFAS by optimizing the performance of the Invention.

TEST 6: A sixth test was set-up to determine if the addition of low concentrations of foaming agent could further enhance PFAS removal from a low concentration PFAS groundwater.

The results from TEST 4 as compiled in Table 6 were used as the basis of comparison. Table 6 is presented below. Table 6. Low Concentration (N000 Groundwater) PFAS Removal by Carbon Number, Small Diffuser, Nitrogen

Carbon

# Units Initial Final % Reduction

Note: U = Below Detection Limit so percent reductions may have been greater than the reported value.

Z000 groundwater was used for this evaluation. Nitrogen was used for this test at a flow rate of 1 to 2 liter per minute. Sodium lauryl sulfate was injected into the water at a concentration of 7.5 ppm. A cylindrical ceramic air stone placed under vacuum was used for foam collection and removal. Test results are shown in Table 9.

Table 9. Low Concentration (N000 Groundwater) PFAS Removal by Carbon Number, Large Diffuser, Nitrogen, Foaming Agent

Carbon

# Units Initial Final % Reduction

Note: U = Below Detection Limit so percent reductions may have been greater than the reported value.

As illustrated by the data in Table 9, these test conditions increased the PFAS removal efficiency for most of the PFAS compounds as compared to the PFAS removal efficiencies shown in Table 6. Of particular interest are the increased removal efficiencies for the short chain PFAS compounds PFBS, Perfluorobutanoic acid, and PFPeA and long chain PFAS compounds PFOA and PFOS. It is important to note that the improved performance shown in Table 9 was achieved even though the large diffuser was used in this test while the small diffuser was used the Table 6 test. It is hypothesized that using the small diffuser with the foaming agent in this test would have produced even better PFAS removal efficiency.

In conclusion, optimization techniques for this invention may include adjusting injected gas bubble size, varying gas composition, and injecting foaming agents as shown in the preceding tests. In addition, contact time can be increased. This is particularly relevant for field application since most treatment wells will have longer bubble columns than the test vessels used in these experiments. For example, the laboratory test vessels had a column (bubble) height of one foot whereas a treatment well installed in the field will have a column (bubble) height of at least ten feet. In addition, based in typical groundwater flow rates, the contact time for treatment wells installed in the field will typically range from hours to days as opposed to the minute timeframes used in the laboratory experiments. Therefore even though the laboratory tests results showed good PFAS removal performance, even higher PFAS removal performance is expected in the field.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive.

Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing

embodiment(s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.