The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center recently launched a large-scale soil washing effort to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS, pollutants at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The $27.6 million military construction-funded project is led by a joint team from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, and supports the Department of the Air Force’s effort to address PFAS at the close air support training installation. AFCEC is a primary subordinate unit of AFIMSC.
Soil washing is a closed-loop, water-based process that separates soil fractions and captures PFAS substances in granular activated carbon and ion-exchange resin filters, said Guy Warren, Project Manager at USACE’s Alaska District who manages onsite project execution.
This remediation technology has been in the market for the past three decades, but the partners have expanded its applicability to treat highly challenging fluorinated chemicals.
“This is the first-time soil washing has been used to treat PFAS-impacted soil,” said Michael Boese AFCEC Lead Restoration Project Manager at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
AFCEC awarded the contract through USACE in November 2022 to treat and dispose of 130,000 cubic yards of PFAS-impacted soil that had been excavated during a MILCON project to build infrastructure to house F-35A fighter squadrons.
The cleanup effort began in August 2023 and is projected to be complete in summer 2025.
“Both AFCEC and USACE teams bring deep technical, engineering and environmental knowledge and have played a key role in determining a viable and cost-effective technology to treat Eielson’s soil piles,” said Roy Willis, AFCEC Restoration Project Manager at JBER.
Prior to selecting soil washing for the Eielson project, AFCEC environmental restoration experts participated in two PFAS pilot studies at Eielson AFB funded by the Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. The pilot program provided a site-specific comparison of the cost and performance for two viable technologies – soil washing and thermal desorption.
Additionally, with the support of USACE, the Air Force conducted a similar soil washing study at Colorado’s Peterson AFB.
Data obtained from soil washing pilot studies showed high success rates achieving more than 99% PFAS reduction in the coarse soil fraction in Colorado and approximately 70% in fine-grained soils at the Alaska installation.
“We determined soil washing to be the most effective technology for the scale and scope of the Eielson project,” Willis said. “The team feels confident this technology will bring successful results.”
Since the project’s kick-off, Eielson’s treatment plant is fully operational and approximately 1,500 cubic yards of soil have been processed. Due to the weather, the field season will resume in May and run through September when the operation is expected to be in full swing and treating 30 cubic yards of soil per hour.
“Once the soil has been cleaned and deemed safe with no PFAS detection or levels below the Alaska state standards, it can then be repurposed for other projects,” Boese said. “However, if there is detection, we will dispose it within PFAS guidance.”
The restoration work follows the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation PFAS soil disposal standards.
Since 2017, AFCEC’s environmental team has been coordinating project requirements with the state and federal regulatory agents ensuring the selected remediation technology is fully approved.
Use of this technology at other Air Force sites will require a significant volume of impacted soil to make it cost-effective and similar soil type, Warren said. For example, PFAS soils with high clay content may not be suitable for this technology.
“We are excited to see the effort is already providing results,” Boese said. “The efficacy of soil washing technology will produce cost and performance data that will help DAF and our regulatory partners program and approve future remediation projects.”
Perimeter Solutions (NYSE: PRM), a leading global manufacturer of high-quality firefighting foams, announced today that its SOLBERG® 3% MIL-SPEC Synthetic Fluorine-Free Foam (SFFF) is the first fluorine-free firefighting foam concentrate to be added to the Department of Defense Qualified Products List (QPL). Now that a fluorine-free foam has been added to the QPL, federal regulations mandate that airport authorities and other government agencies that are required to use MIL-SPEC-qualified products to transition from aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) to fluorine-free. SOLBERG 3% is the only fluorine-free foam that is currently on the QPL and available to the market.
Since 1969, the industry has followed the MIL-F-24385 specification, which required the use of AFFF. Moving toward more sustainable technology, MIL-PRF-32725 (I1) , a new specification for land-based, fresh-water applications for fluorine-free foams was released in January 2023. Manufactured in Green Bay, Wisconsin, SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF concentrate is specifically designed for fast knockdown and extinguishment of gasoline and Jet A fuel spill fires as identified in MIL-PRF-32725 (I1), easily exceeding expansion ratio, burn back, and 25% drain-time performance requirements. It is biodegradable and non-persistent, contains no siloxanes or intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and is compatible with multiple equipment systems.
“We are an industry leader in fluorine-free foam technology, having developed fluorine-free foam solutions since the early 2000s. SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF is our fourth-generation fluorine-free product, and we are proud that it is the first to be added to the QPL,” says Craig McDonnell, Vice President, General Manager of Perimeter Solutions’ Americas Suppressants and Prevention & Protection. “SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFF is available now, and Perimeter Solutions is ready to assist the market in making the transition to fluorine-free foam today. The introduction of SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF demonstrates our dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions that not only meet the highest industry performance standards, but also minimize their impact on the environment.”
McDonnell adds that Perimeter Solutions’ internal testing confirms the performance of SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF in salt water, an advantage for customers, as many water sources contain high levels of minerals or salts that affect foam performance. He says Perimeter is also a proven partner of the military, having supplied the Air Force with foam for their Aircraft Rescue Firefighting foam transition from 2015-2016, delivering 418,000 gallons to 183 locations around the world.
“While some foam manufacturers have decided not to participate in the new MIL-SPEC qualification program and have either stopped or are planning to stop producing foam for the military and commercial markets that rely on MIL-SPEC foam, Perimeter Solutions remains committed to serving this market with high-quality fluorine-free foam solutions,” adds Mark Siem, Business Development-Industrial, Chemist at Perimeter Solutions.
For more information about Perimeter Solutions and SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF, visit https://www.perimeter-solutions.com/en/class-b-foam/3-mil-spec-sfff/.
About Perimeter Solutions
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Perimeter Solutions (NYSE: PRM) is a premier global solutions provider, producing high-quality firefighting products and lubricant additives. The company develops products that impact critically important issues of life – issues where there often is no room for error and the job doesn’t offer second chances. At Perimeter, we characterize the solutions we develop as ‘Trusted Solutions that Save’ – because it underscores what we are trying to accomplish for our customers and the world at large. Perimeter Solutions produces major brands known throughout the world like PHOS-CHEK® and FIRE-TROL® retardant, foam concentrates and gel products; AUXQUIMIA® and SOLBERG® firefighting foam concentrates; and BIOGEMA® extinguishing agents and retardants. For more info on how we use our experience, responsibility, and integrity to deliver trusted solutions that help improve firefighting performance, visit: www.perimeter-solutions.com.
Arcadis U.S. Inc, a leading global design and consultancy organization for natural and built assets, is pleased to announce its selection to perform environmental and remediation services for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntsville District. Arcadis is one of nine firms to be selected as part of an $800 million shared capacity framework contract.
During the contract's five-year performance period, companies will compete for projects under a competitive bidding process. The scope of services under the framework includes the removal, transport and disposal of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) containing Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from fire suppression systems. PFAS are a widely used group of chemicals that do not break down in the environment and are therefore difficult to treat. Arcadis will be employing innovative techniques including creating an AFFF foam transition digital tool to collect, organize and report data gathered by field personnel during foam transition activities, as well as replacing firefighting foams with equivalent substances that do not contain PFAS.
These AFFF support services will be delivered at various U.S. Department of Defense commands and installations and other federal agencies located across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, the U.S. territories and outlying areas.
Tom Rose, Federal Sector Leader for Arcadis, said: "We're honored to provide long-term clients like USACE with our proven solutions and leading technical expertise that not only address and limit the environmental impacts of PFAS, but also support global efforts around sustainability."
Frank Goossensen, Global Resilience Growth Leader for Arcadis, added: "PFAS and other emerging contaminants are a big issue around the globe and, as we grow our understanding of their impact on the environment, we are also making huge strides in learning how to contain or treat them so as to minimize future harm. Rapidly evolving regulations make this an increasingly important issue and I'm pleased that, by working with clients such as USACE, we can apply our technical innovation to tackle one of the biggest remediation challenges of today."
Arcadis is the leading global design & consultancy organization for natural and built assets. We maximize impact for our clients and the communities they serve by providing effective solutions through sustainable outcomes, focus and scale, and digitalization. We are 36,000 people, active in more than 70 countries that generate €4.0 billion in gross revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. www.arcadis.com
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an $800 million contract to nine companies to carry out government installation cleanup efforts, with a primary focus on addressing fire suppressants that contain perfluoroalkyl chemicals.
The contract is a firm-fixed-price award that includes services for film-forming foam removal, disposal, and replacement, as stated by the Department of Defense on Thursday.
Out of the 14 bids submitted for the project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected the following nine companies:
The project is expected to conclude on February 14, 2029.
Emerging chemicals of environmental concern in water represent a major challenge for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in terms of exposure risks to humans and the environment.
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is working to understand detection, fate and transport, and remediation of a group of these chemicals, generally known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS are found in everyday consumer products — from non-stick cookware to water-resistant clothing. They are also found in certain foams, known as aqueous film forming foam, used to fight fires on military and commercial airfields. PFAS may enter the environment at sites where these chemicals are made, used or disposed of and can make their way into groundwater systems through runoff or soil seepage.
The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), funded by the Department of Defense, have a core mission to address challenges, such as PFAS, and improve environmental performance.
ERDC partnered with SERDP/ESTCP on a project to identify the best technologies to characterize, treat and manage PFAS in groundwater environments, as well as to determine how mineral-based amendments can increase the removal efficiency of natural sediments.
“The project’s goal is to understand how substances like activated carbon and iron can aid in immobilizing PFAS from groundwater and how altering key chemical variables, like concentration and ionic strength, will impact adsorption over time,” said Dr. Amanda Barker, a research chemist with ERDC’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. “Our work also investigates overall amendment integrity and how it might physically change once distributed in groundwater systems.”
Using amendments as a simple and rapid tool to remove PFAS from groundwater is ideal for remote locations or those where it isn’t possible to completely remove impacted soil and groundwater and destroy the PFAS.
“Removal of groundwater and soil is difficult and costly, and we’ve shown amendments may aid in reducing the risk of off-site migration, which at the very least would potentially slow down the risk to humans and the environment,” Barker said.
In a laboratory setting, Barker and her team have been able to show complete removal of select PFAS using activated carbon sourced from peat mixed with iron.
“We are very excited about our recent developments as this information will be able to directly aid other basic research programs interested in understanding how PFAS migrate in the environment,” she said.
AECOM announced today that its joint venture was awarded a contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to deliver per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) remedial investigations, feasibility studies, removal actions, and associated work at Army National Guard (ARNG) facilities nationwide. This work builds on AECOM’s prior experience executing extensive preliminary PFAS investigations at ARNG facilities for USACE.
“PFAS present a social and environmental challenge, one we’re tackling aggressively through our Sustainable Legacies strategy,” said Lara Poloni, AECOM’s president. “Our track record in PFAS extends over two decades, and our teams bring deep technical excellence and a drive to continuously innovate solutions as we partner with new and long-term clients to address the impact of PFAS on communities.”
Using the latest in analytics and treatment technologies, the joint venture will work with USACE to define nature and extent for regulated PFAS at ARNG facilities nationwide, take quick action where necessary, and design and implement long-term treatment solutions.
“The ARNG and all of the Department of Defense continue to take proactive measures against PFAS in the environment, and we’re proud to support them as a leader in PFAS remediation,” said Frank Sweet, chief executive of AECOM’s global Environment business. “Our suite of PFAS services, spanning characterization, evaluation, mitigation and destruction, and our ever-growing team of global experts enable us to provide clients with powerful PFAS capabilities, which we expect to be especially valuable as countries around the world take further action to address and limit PFAS.”
PFAS are a diverse group of synthetic chemicals used for over 50 years in industrial applications that, due to distinct properties, can prove difficult to break down and are subject to increasingly stringent federal regulations. AECOM brings an unrivalled depth and breadth of experience, having helped clients address the impact of PFAS since 2001 and on approximately 500 sites globally.