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Removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Currently, there is significant attention being directed towards the issue of water contamination worldwide, specifically related to the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

These substances are commonly found in various products such as fire-extinguishing foams, textile and paper impregnation agents, as well as lubricants. PFAS compounds contain carbon-fluorine bonds, which are known to be some of the strongest bonds in organic chemistry. This attribute makes PFAS virtually non-biodegradable, which is advantageous during their intended use but becomes problematic when they enter the environment.

When ingested, these compounds tend to accumulate in the bodies of living organisms. Due to their persistence, even small traces of PFAS must be eliminated from wastewater, and contaminated groundwater needs to be remediated. This requires compliance with strict national and regional limits, often measured in parts per thousand (ppt), some of which are exceedingly low.

For instance, in the US state of Massachusetts, a provisional "maximum contaminated level (MCL)" of 20 ng/l (ppt) has been established for the combined presence of the most common PFAS compounds. Similar stringent limits are currently under consideration in the European Union.

Anion exchange resins, specifically Lewatit® TP 108 DW, excel in addressing this issue. These resins are highly effective in capturing even trace amounts of PFAS, reaching the ppt range. Additionally, they exhibit a significantly higher absorption capacity of up to 100 g/l, even in the presence of chlorides and sulfates. As a result, this process surpasses conventional activated carbon filtration methods. Furthermore, the service life of Lewatit® TP 108 DW resins can be up to five times longer than that of activated carbon filters.


The effectiveness of a mobile system deployed at fire department training grounds in Australian airports has validated the anticipated results. Over the course of several years, a total of 54 million liters of water has been treated since August 2019, successfully eliminating PFAS levels as low as 200 ppb. The treated water has been reintroduced into surface water sources in adherence to Australian drinking water regulations. Remarkably, even when the resin was used without regeneration, it demonstrated a cost advantage of nearly 60% compared to activated carbon filtration methods.

Lewatit® TP 108 DW fulfills the requirements set by the NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 standard for drinking water systems and has obtained certification from the US Water Quality Association (WQA).

Furthermore, ion exchange resins can effectively remove higher concentrations of PFAS. A two-stage process can be implemented using the regenerable, weakly basic Lewatit® MP 62 WS in combination with the strongly basic Lewatit® K 6362 for subsequent final polishing, achieving the desired outcome.



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