The application of biosolids or treated sewage sludge containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in agricultural lands and the disposal of sludge in landfills pose high risks to humans and the environment. Although PFAS precursors have not been regulated yet, their potential transformation to highly regulated perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) may enable them to serve as a long-term source and make remediation of PFAAs a continuing task. Therefore, treating precursors in sewage sludge is even more, certainly not less, critical than treating or removing PFAAs. In this study, a green surfactant-modified clay sorbent was evaluated for its efficacy in stabilizing two representative PFAA precursors in sludge, e.g., N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid (N-EtFOSAA) and 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid (6:2 FTSA), in comparison with unmodified clay and powdered activated carbon (PAC). Results showed N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA exhibited distinct adsorption behaviors in the sludge without sorbents due to their different physicochemical properties, such as hydrophobicity and functional groups. Among the three sorbents, the modified clay reduced the water leachability of N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA by 91.5% and 95.4%, respectively, compared to controls without amendments at the end of the experiment (47 days). Within the same duration, PAC decreased the water leachability of N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA by 60.6% and 37.3%, respectively. At the same time, the unmodified clay demonstrated a poor stabilization effect and even promoted the leaching of precursors. These findings suggested that the modified clay had the potential for stabilization of precursors, while negatively charged and/or hydrophilic sorbents, such as the unmodified clay, should be avoided in the stabilization process. These results could provide valuable information for developing effective amendments for stabilizing PFAS in sludge or biosolids. Future research should evaluate the long-term effect of the stabilization approach using actual sludge from wastewater treatment facilities.

Effective stabilization of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) precursors in wastewater treatment sludge by surfactant-modified clay

Naddeo, Vincenzo;
2023-01-01

Abstract

The application of biosolids or treated sewage sludge containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in agricultural lands and the disposal of sludge in landfills pose high risks to humans and the environment. Although PFAS precursors have not been regulated yet, their potential transformation to highly regulated perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) may enable them to serve as a long-term source and make remediation of PFAAs a continuing task. Therefore, treating precursors in sewage sludge is even more, certainly not less, critical than treating or removing PFAAs. In this study, a green surfactant-modified clay sorbent was evaluated for its efficacy in stabilizing two representative PFAA precursors in sludge, e.g., N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamido acetic acid (N-EtFOSAA) and 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid (6:2 FTSA), in comparison with unmodified clay and powdered activated carbon (PAC). Results showed N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA exhibited distinct adsorption behaviors in the sludge without sorbents due to their different physicochemical properties, such as hydrophobicity and functional groups. Among the three sorbents, the modified clay reduced the water leachability of N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA by 91.5% and 95.4%, respectively, compared to controls without amendments at the end of the experiment (47 days). Within the same duration, PAC decreased the water leachability of N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA by 60.6% and 37.3%, respectively. At the same time, the unmodified clay demonstrated a poor stabilization effect and even promoted the leaching of precursors. These findings suggested that the modified clay had the potential for stabilization of precursors, while negatively charged and/or hydrophilic sorbents, such as the unmodified clay, should be avoided in the stabilization process. These results could provide valuable information for developing effective amendments for stabilizing PFAS in sludge or biosolids. Future research should evaluate the long-term effect of the stabilization approach using actual sludge from wastewater treatment facilities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4839131
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