Removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from tap water using heterogeneously catalyzed ozonation†
Drinking water is one of the most important human exposure pathways of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). As conventional water treatment techniques are unable to remove PFASs efficiently, novel treatment methods for the removal of PFASs in water are urgently needed. In the present study advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) based on heterogeneously catalyzed ozonation were evaluated on laboratory- and pilot-scales for their efficiency in removing PFASs from water. Laboratory-scale ozonation experiments were conducted with different combinations of ozone, a catalyst and persulfate and showed the highest efficiency for the treatment combining all three parameters. The method was further evaluated for the treatment of spiked drinking water on the pilot-scale. The concentrations of all 18 analyzed PFASs decreased significantly within three hours of treatment in the pilot-scale set-up. The perfluorocarbon chain length had a dominant influence on the removal efficiency, where CF7 − CF11 PFASs were removed with more than 98% removal efficiency, independent of the functional group, CF12 − CF17 PFASs with 64%, and CF4 − CF6 with 55% on average. As the evaluated ozonation treatment is already commercially available for large scale applications today, it could easily be applied in existing water treatment trains; however, ozonation can create potentially toxic transformation products which needs to be investigated in future research.