Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David M. Kempisty, PhD.


This research investigated the efficacy of granular activated carbon (GAC) as a method to treat water impacted with aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) after a firefighting response. Bench-top experiments were conducted and compared to field scale adsorber performance removing mg/L concentrations of PFAS in water contaminated with Military Specification AFFF. Batch tests compared four adsorbents, and determined Calgon F600 GAC and Rembind Plus mixed carbon media had the greatest perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) capacities. Additional batch isotherm experiments using AFFF and higher PFOS concentrations (mg/L) indicated larger amounts of GAC are required (>30mg/L) for effective removal. Full-scale testing simulated an expedited means of treating AFFF impacted waters with Calgon Flowsorb drums containing F600 GAC and effectively removed PFAS below detection limits for 4,365 gallons of water. Bench-top flow-through experiments used rapid small-scale columns (RSSCTs) to predict full-scale treatment performance. RSSCT experiments exceeded full-scale capacity and breakthrough to 10%, 50% and 75% of influent PFOS concentrations were observed at 577, 1173 and 2215 bed volumes. Toxicity testing indicated AFFF impacted water and treated RSSCT effluent have no adverse, short-term impact on microbial health in activated sludge. The results will be used to determine effective emergency response treatment techniques.

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DTIC Accession Number