Research by Australia’s leading environmental remediation company on the handling of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and other contaminants has been at the forefront of a recent international conference on cleaning up the environment.
The CleanUp 19 Conference in Adelaide brought together some of the world’s top industry practitioners and researchers under the theme of remediating the planet.
Conference organiser Professor Ravi Naidu said the theme recognises the “staggering extent and severity of environmental contamination and its attendant impact on environmental and human health.”
Enviropacific’s National PFAS Manager Andrew Thomas, Head of Water Sagar Adhikari and Sydney Remediation Manager Martin Kelly were among the presenters.
Mr. Thomas discussed the process and results of treating PFAS impacted soils from a confidential site in NSW. He also provided an overview of the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project – one of the first PFAS water treatment systems designed and operated under the regulatory direction of Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES). Enviropacific is designing, supplying, installing, commissioning, operating & maintaining a 1 megalitre/day PFAS Water Treatment Plant. The system is designed to treat not only PFAS to achieve the most stringent criteria (i.e. 99% species protection) set by the DES but also a range of other contaminants including heavy metals, ammonia, nutrients and petroleum in order to protect the receiving water environment.
Sagar Adhikari discussed the water treatment results at one of Sydney’s biggest remediation sites, the former Millers Point Gasworks site. Up to 2 million litres/day of heavily impacted groundwater went through extensive multi-phase physio-chemical treatment. To date over 180ML of water has been treated in full compliance with our Environmental Protection Licence (EPL). Significantly, the quality of some of the treated water quality parameter discharge has been higher than Sydney’s normal drinking water and global WHO drinking water standards. As a result, the delicate ecosystem of Sydney Harbour has been protected from chemical damage and harmful destruction. In addition, the treatment plant ensured that atmosphere was kept free from volatile gases generated during the remediation process.
Martin Kelly’s presentation focussed on the transformation of a former quarry, brick pit and uncontrolled landfill in Sydney’s south west into a site for a vibrant residential community. The two-year project (15 months of remediation and an additional year of gas monitoring) at Narellan is coming to an end.
The plan was to retain as much suitable soil materials on-site for future re-instatement and use. In the end, the project achieved a 92% resource recovery rate for materials that were considered suitable. Hazardous materials including PCB and asbestos contaminated soils were not retained on-site and as such required disposal to licensed waste facilities.
Overall, the project has been able divert an astonishing 17,000m3 of suitable soil material from otherwise wastefully being disposed to landfill, enabling the site to be a central place of community in the future.