Reducing the potential magnitude of the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) liability will require a sustained effort to identify the best technologies to characterize, treat, and manage these sites. Efficient and meaningful investigations will require significant improvements in the current understanding of PFAS toxicity and behavior in the environment, as well as improvements in sampling and analysis of PFAS. A substantial fraction of impacted sites will likely require remediation. Given the recalcitrance and complexity of PFAS, as well as the low cleanup levels likely to be required, advances in current remediation technologies are needed to improve effectiveness and greatly reduce costs. SERDP and ESTCP have funded hundreds of projects that have quickly and significantly advanced our understanding and management of PFAS in the environment. Our work evaluates a range of potential treatment technologies, ecotoxicological effects, and improved AFFF site characterization. An overview of these investments is shown below.

Occurrence, Fate, & Transport

Improved understanding in characterizing and modelling the nature of sources (and associated plumes) will lead to more targeted remediation strategies for sites posing the greatest risk. Several projects have been initiated to better understand the occurrence, fate and transport of PFAS in the environment.

Treatment of PFAS-Impacted Matrices

SERDP and ESTCP fund the development and demonstration of PFAS treatment technologies that include a wide variety of different processes and generally fall into the following categories: thermal treatment, treatment of investigation derived waste (IDW), biodegradation, in situ groundwater treatment, development of new sorbents, above-ground treatment, and the impact of co-occurring chemicals.

Sampling & Analysis

SERDP and ESTCP are focused on improving sampling and analysis for PFAS in environmental matrices. Significant efforts are underway to develop passive sampling methodologies, improve total organic fluorine (TOF), and develop a forensics approach to PFAS in the environment.

Ecotoxicity of PFAS

SERDP and ESTCP efforts to close knowledge gaps in ecotoxicity and ecological risk will aid in the development of appropriate site-specific risk assessments and help in decision-making related to mitigation of exposures and/or future environmental cleanup. Current projects are addressing impacts of PFAS to several species, including but not limited to avian, mammalian, and reptilian species.

Workshop Report:
Long Term Mgmt of Contaminated Groundwater
Workshop Report:
PFAS R&D Needs
Workshop Report:
PFAS R&D Needs
  Creation of Reference Material Ecotoxicity of PFAS-Free AFFF Ecotoxicity of MixturesAnalytical Methods for Total PFAS in PFAS-free AFFFConcentration Technologies
Source Zones Alternative Formulations for PFAS-Free AFFF Ecotoxicity in the Marine EnvironmentAFFF Impacted Concrete and AsphaltAnalytical and Environmental Sampling Methods
  Investigation Derived Waste Biodegradation Ecotoxicity & Risk in Avian SpacesStormwater ManagementDestructive Treatment Processes
In Situ Groundwater Remediation
 In Situ & Ex Situ Groundwater RemediationMultilab Method ValidationPassive Sampling Methodologies PFAS-Impacted Material TreatmentTransformation in Soil and GroundwaterFate and Transport
In Situ Groundwater Remediation
Co-Occuring Chemicals in GroundwaterEcorisk/Assessing Remediation EffectivenessEcological Risk CharacterizationAnalytical Methods to Assess Leaching and MobilityAmendments for In Situ Groundwater RemediationPFAS-Free Fire Suppressant EnhancementsPFAS-Free Firefighting Agents PerformanceSelf-Assembly Behavior of PFAS
Novel Surfactant FormulationsNovel Surfactant FormulationsAnalytical and Environmental Sampling MethodsForensic Methods for Source Tracking and AllocationThermal Destructive TechnologiesThermal Degradation of Polymeric PFAS in MunitionsPFAS-Free Firefighting Agents TestingThermal Destructive Processes
2011 - 201620172018201920202021202220232024
FAQs at DoD Sites
Thermally-Enhanced Persulfate Oxidation Followed by P&TIon Exchange & Low Energy Electrical Discharge Plasma ProcessSub-Micron Powdered Activated Carbon & Ceramic Membrane Filter SystemPFAS-Impacted Material TreatmentEx Situ Thermal TreatmentPFAS-Impacted Material TreatmentPFAS-Impacted Material Treatment 
Characterization of the Nature and Extent at DoD Sites
 Life Cycle Comparison of Ex Situ Treatment TechnologiesMobile Lab-Based Real Time Analytical MethodsMonitoring and CharacterizationMonitoring and CharacterizationMonitoring and CharacterizationMonitoring and Characterization 
   Source Zone Treatment Technology (D-FAS)In Situ TreatmentIn Situ TreatmentIn Situ TreatmentIn Situ Treatment 
 Demonstration of Alternative Surfactant FormulationsDemonstration of PFAS-Free FormulationsEx Situ Chemical ReductionDemonstration of PFAS-Free Formulations  
    Firefighting Systems CleaningNanofiltration and Plasma   


 Treatment Ecotoxicity Fate, Transport and Characterization Analytical and Sampling Methods PFAS-Free AFFF