Presented October 17, 2019- Presentation Slides


Remediation Options for PFAS-Contaminated Groundwater by Dr. Michelle Crimi

The historical use of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) formulations containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for firefighting and training activities by the Department of Defense (DoD) has led to concern over the potential for contamination of groundwater at hundreds of sites. Because regulatory guideline concentrations for PFAS are 3 to 4 orders of magnitude lower than concentrations measured at several sites, cost effective treatment approaches are needed which consider the unique chemical properties of PFAS including high solubility, low volatility, emulsification behavior, recalcitrance, and presence as mixtures. This presentation presented viable approaches for treating recalcitrant PFAS and recent related research activity. Technologies of particular focus include sorption, ion exchange, oxidation, sonolysis, and plasma treatment. Challenges and limitations of these approaches, including the presence of precursors and co-contaminants and generation of byproducts were discussed. The presentation also highlighted research activity at Clarkson University to advance and optimize PFAS treatment technologies, with a particular emphasis on treatment trains for more efficient and effective remediation.

Capabilities Assessment of Fluorine-Free Foams and Water Additives by Mr. Jerry Back

Legacy firefighting foams (AFFF) used by DoD are facing increasing regulatory scrutiny throughout the world due to both environmental and human health concerns associated with the fluorinated surfactants. This presentation described a two-year effort to assess the capabilities of environmentally friendly AFFF alternatives, including both traditional candidates such as fluorine-free foams and non-traditional options such as wetting agents and other water additives. The goal of the program was to provide an “apples to apples” comparison of the capabilities of the AFFFs currently used by the DoD and commercially available fluorine-free alternatives. The firefighting capabilities were assessed against a range of representative real-scale scenarios and laboratory/approval scale. Results from the real-scale scenarios were linked to smaller laboratory/approval scale test results to develop a better understanding of the approval scale test results for assessing firefighting capabilities. The final outcome of the program was to identify potential commercially available agents as alternatives for AFFF. A database of potential firefighting agents will be started for future reference.


Speaker Biographies
Dr. Michelle Crimi

Michelle Crimi is a professor and director of engineering and management at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. Michelle has taught environmental science and engineering and engineering and management, as well as conducted research on treatment of contaminated groundwater at Clarkson University for eleven years. Prior to Clarkson University, Michelle was an assistant professor at East Tennessee State University and a research assistant professor at the Colorado School of Mines. Her research focuses on developing in situ treatment technologies for groundwater remediation, determining the impact of groundwater technologies on aquifer quality, and integrating treatment technologies for optimized risk reduction. She has been Principal Investigator or co- Principal Investigator on several research projects focused on treating emerging contaminants. Her projects are often conducted in partnership with industry and have a strong technology transfer focus with the objective of moving technologies from the laboratory to full-scale adoption by developing guidance, tools, protocols, and workshops to support field application. Michelle received her doctoral degree in environmental science and engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, her master’s degree in environmental health at Colorado State University, and her bachelor’s degree in industrial hygiene and environmental toxicology at Clarkson University.


Mr. Jerry Back

Mr. Jerry Back is a senior fire protection engineer with Jensen Hughes in Baltimore, Maryland. He was one of the original Hughes Associate employees and has over 35 years of experience in fire protection topics and issues. Over the course of his career, he has published over 100 papers on fire protection topics and has been responsible for project management and administration of fire protection research, development, testing, and evaluation programs. He has performed thousands of full-scale fire tests, including evaluations of AFFF agents and systems, aerosols, high expansion foam systems, gaseous agents, water mist systems, and water spray/delude systems. These full-scale fire tests include major projects for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and commercial clients. He has tested every type of AFFF system used in the USN, including most manual firefighting equipment and is actively testing potential AFFF alternatives. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in fire protection engineering, both from the University of Maryland.