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Responsible Management of PFAS Waste

On July 17th, 2019, Angie Martin, our Vice President, attended the Missouri Waste Control Coalition Conference to give a presentation that addressed the health concerns, legislation, and treatment options associated with Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a persistent group of manufactured chemicals used in water and stain repellents, nonstick coatings, cleaning products, firefighting foams, and more.

Environmental issues and health concerns have been linked to PFAS, calling for Congress to draft legislation pertaining to PFAS waste stream management and disposal. Many amendments regarding PFAS have been added to the National Defense Authorization Act, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee is currently reviewing a plethora of PFAS bills.

There are a variety of treatment options available for PFAS. However, the different chemical and physical properties of the thousands of PFAS species make selecting a treatment option challenging. With talk of the negative implications of PFAS on human health and the environment on the rise, Angie discussed possible treatment options and their effectiveness, including separation, transformation, disposal, and destruction.

SEPARATION technologies such as granular activated carbon, ion resin exchange, membrane filtration, and precipitation concentrate PFAS out of contaminated water. While these methods can be quite effective in removing PFAS from water, the PFAS is still existent. It has just been transferred to a membrane, resin, or PFAS-rich sludge, and must now be treated further.

TRANSFORMATION through oxidation or biodegradation is another treatment option. When oxidized, the carbon-carbon or carbon-oxygen bonds in PFAS are more easily broken than the persistent carbon-fluorine bond. Breaking the carbon-carbon backbone of longer PFAS molecules without breaking the carbon-fluorine bonds simply creates a greater number shorter PFAS molecules. Biodegradation is similar; biodegradation pathways for PFAS precursors lead to PFAS species of regulatory concern. Even though these methods do have their positives, such as a lack of PFAS waste being generated, they are ultimately ineffective.

DISPOSAL in a landfill is another largely ineffective method for PFAS treatment. Many are landfilling PFAS waste from separation processes. However, due to the solubility and mobility of some PFAS molecules, PFAS can easily escape the landfills in leachate and be reintroduced to the environment.

DESTRUCTION using the extreme heat of incineration breaks the carbon-fluorine bonds characteristic of PFAS. Incineration is the only commercially available technology with the capacity to address the PFAS problem, avoid liability, minimize human health concerns, and abate the environmental persistence of PFAS. Destruction is Heritage’s only management method provided to customers with PFAS waste.

If you have any questions regarding PFAS or treatment options offered by Heritage Environmental Services, please reach out to your account representative, or contact Angie Martin at angie.martin@heritage-enviro.com.

Lab Packing

Easy to Use, Complete Technical Waste Disposal Service

Whether you work in a lab, research facility, or are a small generator, you may have small chemical containers needing disposed. Accumulating different chemicals can be overwhelming because there can be uncertainty about how to dispose of each chemical, hazardous or non-hazardous. Using a lab pack service gives you the peace of mind that all your hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals are being handled properly.

What is Lab Packing?
During a lab pack, qualified professionals will begin by assessing the customers needs. An inventory will be taken, and the contents of each container be determined; even unidentified chemicals. When all chemicals are identified, the lab pack team will pack compatible chemicals from small containers into a larger DOT (Department of Transportation) approved container. The lab pack process ensures the safe handling of chemicals to be taken for proper removal.

How Do You Choose the Right Company?
What are some things you should look for when choosing a company to take care of your chemicals? First you need to ensure EPA compliance. Being compliant to all rules and regulations set by the EPA makes sure that you are working with a company that is properly handling or disposing chemicals. Another important aspect is that a lab pack service crew are properly trained. Having appropriately trained professionals is important because you want to make sure each team member knows what each chemical does, and what chemicals are dangerous if they were to come into contact with each other. There are also benefits if you choose a company who does in house disposal. By using a company who does the lab pack and disposal, you are eliminating the middle man. You are trusting one company and don’t have to worry about improper disposal done by a separate company. When you use one trusted company, you can know that every step is handled by the same team with the same goals.

How Heritage Can Help
If you want to make sure you are following all the regulations set by the EPA, Heritage can help. Here’s how it works:

  1. Our highly trained personnel will meet you on-site to handle all your waste materials. They will help you identify any unknown materials to ensure you everything is being handled appropriately.
  2. We supply all materials and labels needed to ensure regulatory compliance.
  3. We haul everything away for you.

We give you better visibility because you will know exactly what you are dealing with and exactly where it is going. We make it easy! We can save time because all you have to do is make the call to us and we do the rest. Contact us today to get started on your lab pack!