We have to live with PFAS

As the unrivaled authority in PFAS treatment and removal, the water treatment experts at Calgon Carbon have the solution for PFAS.

A One-Two Punch to Fight Back Against PFAS

For more than a decade, the PFAS experts at Calgon Carbon have proven that our FILTRASORB® 400 Granular Activated Carbon product removes PFAS compounds to non-detectable levels. 

But what happens with the spent activated carbon laden with these so-called forever chemicals? 

Our PFAS experts sought to answer this question and prove that our PFAS removal technology offers a safe and effective solution to remove these compounds from the spent activated carbon. 

PFAS Removal and Destruction > 99.99%

In a peer-reviewed article recently published in the highly respected Remediation-The Journal of Environmental Cleanup Costs, Technologies, & Techniques, Calgon Carbon detailed our study at a full-scale manufacturing site on the removal of PFAS from spent activated carbon through a process called reactivation. 

This groundbreaking research shows that not only can PFAS be removed from the environment using granular activated carbon, but reactivation can effectively and completely remove those same compounds from the spent carbon and destroy to >99.99%.

This site is intended to educate and inform water treatment specialists, environmental managers and others who are focused on PFAS mitigation and destruction strategies that there now is a way to live without PFAS.

PFAS Removal Experts

Jenalle Brewer, senior vice president at Calgon Carbon, explains our long-standing commitment to treating vital resources of water and air. Watch the video to see how PFAS removal has been on Calgon Carbon’s radar for nearly two decades. 

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About the Study

Our PFAS research study answers questions asked by many dealing with PFAS mitigation and removal: Can PFAS compounds effectively be removed to non-detect levels from spent carbon through Calgon’s reactivation process? And what is the fate of the PFAS once it is removed from the carbon?

To answer those questions, we proactively conducted a study at a full-scale manufacturing site on the removal of PFAS from spent activated carbon through the reactivation process. For decades, we have continually leveraged our internal engineers and scientists, along with external experts, to ensure our products and methods are tested and proven.

Testing is part of the company’s culture, and our technical experts regularly assist customers with testing and simulation to determine the optimal PFAS treatment configuration.

“I find that this research is really fulfilling and important, and I’m proud to have been a part of moving this topic forward, generating this data, getting this data out into the public. We’ve taken a huge step to setting the benchmark for the industry of what we know about PFAS destruction and reactivation of granular activated carbon.”

Rebecca DiStefano

Senior Applications Engineer, Calgon Carbon

Experts Choose Experts

Rebecca DiStefano, senior applications engineer at Calgon Carbon, discusses the research and third-party validation we proactively sought to highlight how the PFAS were removed from the carbon and achieved >99.99% destruction in our reactivation process.

Peer-Reviewed Research

Our test was able to show >99.99% destruction of the PFAS compounds through a high-temperature furnace and abatement system.

Once the results were verified, we approached the editors of Remediation-The Journal of Environmental Cleanup Costs, Technologies, & Techniques to submit an article on our research of the thermal destruction of PFAS during a full-scale reactivation of PFAS-laden granular activated carbon. This publication has previously published our research about whether carbon effectively removes short-chain PFAS.

The journal’s acceptance criteria rely on the quality and originality of the research and its significance to journal readership. Once its editorial team determines that the paper meets the appropriate quality and relevance, the submission then goes through a blind peer-review process to assure the quality and integrity of the research.

We chose this esteemed quarterly journal because of its focus on the practical applications of remediation techniques and technologies. Each issue of Remediation features articles by experts on such important issues as: evaluating the costs of uncertainty in risk assessment, determining how clean is clean, using bioremediation successfully and cost-effectively, negotiating remediation contracts, treating hazardous wastes, and understanding regulatory issues. The full article can be found here.

PFAS Destruction Process Explained

It’s all about the (Activated) Carbon

For over 20 years, our proven PFAS treatment solutions have been used in both drinking water and wastewater applications.  Our FILTRASORB® Granular Activated Carbon is a re-agglomerated GAC produced from bituminous coal that has demonstrated superior PFAS-removal capabilities compared to other carbons.

While activated carbon can be made from any carbon-containing starting material, we source the best raw materials in the world and have found that bituminous coal is a far superior material for PFAS removal.

“I believe a sense of purpose is critical in everything that we do. Working at Calgon Carbon has really helped me fulfill that drive, providing clean drinking water and air, protecting soldiers through our respirator products. I wake up every day knowing that I make a difference in helping people.”

John Matthis

Global PFAS Team Leader, Calgon Carbon

Remove PFAS in Two Steps

John Matthis, Global PFAS Team leader at Calgon Carbon, details our PFAS destruction and reactivation two-step process to first remove PFAS from the environment and then from the spent activated carbon.  

Step 1: Removing PFAS from Water

FILTRASORB® 400 GAC removes PFAS and other contaminants from water supplies by a process known as “adsorption.” In adsorption, PFAS chemicals present in water are attracted and held tightly to the surface of the pores of the activated carbon as they pass through the carbon bed. In simple terms, FILTRASORB acts like a magnet, and as the water flows through, PFAS contaminants are attracted to the carbon, which is stored in a large carbon tank.

Step 2: Reactivation and Removal of PFAS from Carbon

While the adsorptive capacity of FILTRASORB® makes it ideal for removing a variety of contaminants from water, air, liquids, and gases, what happens to the contaminants once they are trapped in the GAC?

The spent, PFAS-laden carbon is transported back to one of our facilities for reactivation, where it travels through a multi-hearth furnace or rotary kiln that restores the activated carbon to a virgin-like state. Reactivation uses high temperatures in the furnace or kiln, up to 1750 degrees Fahrenheit.

Any PFAS contaminants that survive the furnace travel to a thermal abatement system for further destruction. After the thermal oxidizer/afterburner, there is a chemical scrubber to neutralize any acid gas formed in the process, such as hydrogen fluoride (HF). The abatement system is designed to destroy organics to meet regulatory limits, typically to at least >99.99% efficiency. Learn how we were able to prove >99.99% efficiency in our proprietary reactivation process. 

Once the contaminants are removed from the carbon, the reactivated GAC can be returned to service as part of a return / reactivate / reuse life cycle for the GAC in a circular economy, reducing costs and the carbon dioxide footprint.