An innovative, chemical free system that successfully removes up to 100% of priority PFAS compounds from heavily contaminated leachate is now available to the US market.
The Water and Carbon Group (WCG) has partnered with Leachate Management Specialists (LMS) to make the LEEF (Low Energy Evaporative Fractionation) System® available as a low-energy, scalable PFAS removal solution for treating wastewater or leachate.
Unlike traditional PFAS treatment systems that rely on membrane solutions, granular activated carbon, or ion exchange, the LEEF System® uses foam fractionation to remove PFAS contaminants from leachate using minimal energy, no chemicals, or consumables.
The system is effective without costly pre-treatment, is not easily fouled by other contaminants including solids, and produces a low volume of waste.
The technology has already been successfully deployed at a landfill leachate treatment plant in Australia’s northern city of Darwin, treating 36,000 gallons of complex leachate each day.
WCG CEO Jim Hunter said one of the biggest advantages of the LEEF System® is its modular format making it easy to provide the right options to meet the complex and unique needs of each leachate treatment plant.
“The LEEF System® was designed to allow for customisation to treat the different leachate characteristics at each site, whether it a waste management facility, a mining site, a brownfield development, or airport,” Mr Hunter said.
“With small energy requirements and a low waste stream, it can easily be deployed to treat complex waste streams with high co-contaminants.”
To show the advantages of the LEEF System® in the US, WCG constructed a demonstration scale system consisting of four fractionators housed in a 40-foot shipping container that can easily be deployed throughout the country.
In 2022, the demonstration system successfully treated nine diverse leachates without pre-treatment, including two reverse osmosis concentrates for two of the largest solid waste companies in the country.
LMS president and founder Brad Granley said the demonstration unit showed the diverse range of leachates that can be treated effectively with the LEEF System®.
“The nine different leachates we worked with had a diverse range of co-contamination which can make traditional PFAS removal extremely difficult without pretreatment,” he said.
“Among the sites we sampled, ammonia levels ranged between 6 and 3800 mg/L and total dissolved solids fluctuated between 5,700 and 54,000 mg/L. As for PFAS compounds, PFOA in the streams ranged from 140 to 12,500 ng/L and PFOS between 70 and 3,600 ng/L.
“You don’t have to be a chemist to see these results and appreciate how different each leachate can be, and why that can challenge traditional PFAS removal methods.”
Throughout the trials, the small demonstration system consistently removed priority PFAS compounds to below the level of analytical detection, while concentrating the resulting foamate into a very small volume clearly indicating a highly successful removal process.
Clients have appreciated that the LEEF System® processes the leachate, creates the foam to remove PFAS, separates and collapses the foam in one vessel, and that it can operate on a continuous basis.
In partnership with WCG, LMS is offering demonstrations of the LEEF System® technology to demonstrate site-specific performance. Contact us for further information or to arrange a demonstration by visiting leefsystem.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Demonstration Site Results
During demonstrations, the LEEF System® performed well and met the objectives of each test. It consistently removed priority PFAS compounds to below the analytical detection limits (LoDs), while concentrating the resulting foamate into a very small volume.
- Reverse osmosis concentrates PFOA levels reduced from 5,110 ng/L down to <8.9 ng/L. Foamate concentrated the compound to 233,000 ng/L, clearly indicating a highly successful removal.
- Reverse osmosis concentrates PFOS levels started at 659 ng/L. After treatment was measured as <10 ng/L with its foamate as high as 6,000 ng/L.
- PFHpA and PFHxS were also removed. In one source, PFHxS was reduced from 1,990 ng/L down to <11.9 ng/L with its foamate at 78,200 ng/L.
- In addition to the priority compounds, the demonstration showed significant reductions for other PFAS including both short-chains and long-chains like PFBS, PFHxA, PFDoA, PFHpS, 6:2 FTS, 5:3 FTCA, and 7:3 FTCA.