Emerging Contaminants Summit
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Emerging Contaminants Summit
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Kevin Olness Kevin Olness
Associate Project Manager

Mr. Kevin Olness, PG, is an Associate Project Manager and leader of the Department of the Navy’s PFAS Program for Wood. He has more than 15 years of experience in environmental consulting that includes 5 years of experience supporting PFAS projects. He has extensive program and project management, site investigation, and client focused experience and has supported Federal and industrial clients with PFAS evaluations. He has supported PFAS projects in 12 different states in 5 of the 10 USEPA regions.


Management and Treatment of Spent Firewater Contaminated with High Concentrations of Poly- and Per- Fluoroaklyl Substances (PFAS)

Coauthors of abstract: Kevin Olness, PG (Wood), Robert Earney (NAVFAC SW);Nicholas Macario (Wood); Bill Malyk, PE (Wood)

The objective of this project was to manage and mitigate potential risks and liability associated with the disposal of spent firewater contaminated with PFAS at an active US military air station. Two specific challenges were addressed: 1) A treatability evaluation was conducted for the treatment and disposal of spent firewater impacted with PFAS to allow for discharge of treated water to the sanitary sewer system, 2) A treatment and disposal evaluation of the rinse water generated from cleaning the spent firewater storage systems was conducted to determine best management practices for rinse water storage and disposal. The project is being completed in two phases beginning with an initial treatability evaluation to monitor the effectiveness of treating PFAS using a mobile treatment train system to concentrations below respective U.S. EPA LHAs and RSLs. The mobile treatment system will be modified based on the initial evaluation and used to treat the remaining impacted spent firewater stored in USTs at the site as well as rinse water generated during cleaning of the tanks. The initial treatability evaluation study will be conducted on the most highly concentrated spent firewater, a 40,000- gallon spent firewater UST. Applying the initial treatment method at the UST with the highest concentration of PFAS will provide the best indication as to the future success of the method in treating water in other USTs. The highest concentrations are currently identified as >6 ppm for PFOS. In the second phase, the results of the initial treatability test were utilized to optimize or modify the treatment process (e.g. increase in media bed sizes, vessel changeouts, reductions in flowrate to increase empty-bed contact time (EBCT), etc.). Any modifications will be implemented following the initial treatment evaluation or prior to implementing the treatment method at any of the remaining spent firewater USTs. An additional 360,000 gallons of spent firewater is planned for treatment. The mobile trailer-mounted treatment system consists of parallel (lead and standby) treatment vessel trains mounted onto a flatbed trailer to allow mobilization from one UST to other USTs as needed. Each treatment train (lead and standby trains) will consist of the treatment media vessels in series of: organoclay to remove oil and grease, GAC to remove VOCs and SVOCs and some PFAS; and ion exchange resin to remove PFAS compounds. Treatment system performance sampling analysis includes EPA Method 537.1-Modified to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment method in removing both short- and long- chain PFAS compounds relative to the respective treatment criteria. Additional analyses include oil and grease, petroleum hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, dissolved sulfides, flash point, cyanide and metals to ensure treated water meets all requirements for discharge to the sanitary sewer

Data presented will include
• System performance and batch discharge sample results collected on the basis of the specified treated volumes for PFAS compounds.
• Challenges faced, modifications evaluated and implemented for treatment of the remaining water.
• Best management practices for efficient managing and minimizing risks associated with spent firewater storage and disposal.

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