EPA recently launched a technical challenge seeking proposals for non-thermal technologies and approaches to destroy per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in concentrated aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) without producing any harmful byproducts.

SERDP and ESTCP are cosponsoring this challenge along with the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), the Environmental Research Institute of the States (ERIS), the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

PFAS are anthropogenic chemicals, and their unique chemical structure makes them persistent in the environment and therefore difficult to destroy. PFAS compounds tend to bioaccumulate and can cause adverse health effects. Since FY11, SERDP and ESTCP have funded numerous projects with the goal of developing a better understanding of occurrence, fate and transport, remedial treatment options, and ecotoxicity at AFFF-impacted sites, as well as next generation PFAS-free foams.

This challenge is focused on removing PFAS from unused AFFF. Submissions should meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be applicable for use on unspent AFFF from unused AFFF concentrates containing 3 percent and/or 6 percent PFAS;
  2. Must destroy at least 99 percent of the PFAS in unused AFFF concentrates, including PFAS byproducts that may form by volatilization, particulates, and leaching from effluents;
  3. Must demonstrate scalability and cost effectiveness for a defined quantity over thermal methods used to treat AFFF.

The total winning cash prize is $50,000. The submission deadline is November 23, 2020. EPA will hold an informational webinar on September 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM (ET). To learn more about the challenge and submit your idea, visit the Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge website.