New York State’s City of Buffalo is utilizing an advanced oxidation technology targeted at per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that was developed by Ontario-based water company StreamGo.
Buffalo’s work with StreamGo, based near Hamilton, may even benefit the Great Lakes as New York State works to improve the Niagara River by deconstructing any PFAS that have leached in through sources such as household and industrial products.
Often referred to as Forever Chemicals because of their persistence in the environment, StreamGo has adopted the PFAS treatment tagline: “Forever Ends Today.”
“In Buffalo, we take our impact on the environment seriously,” announced Oluwole McFoy, general manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, in a statement. “Through this partnership with StreamGo, we will be able to protect our community and preserve the health of our natural waterways.
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StreamGO is currently underway with its pilot project testing at Buffalo’s Bird Island Treatment Facility, where the focus is on landfill leachate received by the Buffalo Sewer Authority. Landfill leachate is one of the four major sources of PFAS contamination, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The team is working to deconstruct into base elements the concentrated PFAS filtered from leachate. According to StreamGo, reverse osmosis and nanotechnology absorption are used to isolate and concentrate PFAS from leachate, before it runs through the destruction process. The company says its treatment process is EPA-compliant and essentially breaks the bond between carbon and fluorine within the PFAS compound.
“PFAS chemicals are separated, concentrated, removed and deconstructed,” according to StreamGO’s website. “This allows StreamGo to deliver 100% safe, purified water for human consumption and domestic use.”
StreamGO says no hazardous byproducts are created by its turn-key, closed-loop treatment process, eliminating the need for costly third-party disposal.
Prior to treating the PFAS in Buffalo’s leachate, PFAS levels stood at 30,000 parts per trillion. After installing StreamGo’s solution, regulated PFAS levels in the treated landfill leachate were minimized to non-detectable levels, allowing for safe discharge into the environment, according to McFoy.
“I want to be clear, this is not a problem exclusive to Buffalo,” announced Richard Nie, CEO and president of StreamGo, in a statement. “We are at a crossroads with our water supply on a national and global scale. On a local level, we’re turning to energy-saving, cost-effective solutions and prioritizing them now for the sake of our future water supply.”
In 2022, New York State invested $55 million to modernize the Bird Island facility and significantly reduce sewer overflows and the amount of pollution that enters the Niagara River.
A recent survey suggests that operational costs for wastewater utilities could increase by more than 60% — some three times higher than federal projections — as a direct result of new PFAS regulations in the U.S.
The proposal marked the first time in 26 years that the EPA set legal limits for a contaminant in drinking water.