If all goes according to plan, a just-opened facility in Ohio could destroy PFAS chemicals from the New Hampshire Fire Department later this year, leading to the creation of a PFAS destruction operation in New England. This is a possible first step.

“This is no longer a forever chemical. There are solutions,” said Jake McManus of Northeast Purification Systems, who is in charge of the project for Revive Environmental, which developed the technology. Ta.

“It's a ubiquitous chemical, but it's no longer forever,” added Mark Sanborn, a former deputy director of New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services who now works for Northeast Purification Systems.

If the Governor and Executive Committee sign the contract, treated leachate containing PFAS, presumably from firefighting foam and equipment, would be transported to a facility operated by Revive Environmental, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, and treated under high pressure. Firefighting operations will be carried out at high temperatures. Carcinogenic chemicals in the system called PFAS Annihilators.

David Trueba, president and CEO of Ohio-based Revive Environmental, said, “The worst of the worst foam firefighting options would be to eliminate all leachate containing PFAS. It is possible to do that as well.”

Revive describes its system as an environmentally friendly alternative to the current alternatives of burying or burning materials containing PFAS. Trueba said the cost per gallon is “cheaper than incineration and more expensive than landfill.”

Revive began piloting the system at its Michigan facility and is now operating it full-time. The company says it processes more than 2.5 million gallons of concentrated leachate each month from its wastewater treatment facility.

PFAS, an abbreviation for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” is a class of thousands of man-made chemicals that have existed since the 1940s to make products more resistant to oil, heat, and water. They're used in everything from cosmetics to outdoor gear to nonstick pots and food wrappers, and because they don't break down naturally, they accumulate in the environment. Exposure can lead to an increased risk of some types of cancer and other diseases.

The discovery of PFAS in groundwater associated with the now-closed Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack has put New Hampshire on the forefront of environmental regulations related to the chemicals.

One of the main sources of PFAS contamination is a type of firefighting foam that can seep into the water table after being used in a fire. New Hampshire banned its use in 2019, raising questions about what to do with existing materials. Revive Environmental's system is being considered as a potential solution.

Northeast Purification Systems acts as a local representative for Revive Environmental. They're starting with foam fire extinguishers in New Hampshire, but hope to persuade other PFAS sources to use the system as well. The idea is to win enough customers to justify building his PFAS Annihilator site in New England to avoid trucking costs.

A big boost for the industry is the EPA's recent decision to add PFAS to its drinking water standards, which means wastewater treatment facilities must start removing PFAS. “So people are realizing that if PFAS is in the waste stream, there needs to be a solution,” Sanborn said.

This reflects that the industry is primarily driven by regulation. Revive began operations in Michigan because the state placed limits on his PFAS in leachate (liquid that leaks from landfills and industrial sites).

Another factor is fear of litigation.

“I don't discount the liability factor,” Sanborn said. “This is a PFAS solution that provides documentation that the material has been destroyed from a regulatory perspective and from a liability perspective.”

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