Victoria University (VU) is helping one of its valued partners test pioneering technology designed to remove harmful chemicals from contaminated soil, wastewater, and groundwater.
The Environmental Group Limited’s EGL Water, an Australian leader in water treatment innovations, selected VU as a research partner from several Australian universities based on VU’s own expertise in water research.
Together, the partners have verified how effective the EGL water treatment system is in removing per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water.
In pilot tests on a small-scale laboratory rig of the EGL Water system and a VU-made laboratory scale rig at VU’s Werribee water research centre, VU water and wastewater researchers found an 87 percent reliable reduction in PFAS-contaminated water using the EGL technology.
During testing, the system removed more than 80% PFAS from contaminated soil and water.
These ground-breaking results signal the technology’s potential for cost-effectively removing PFAs from the environment.
What are PFAS?
PFAs are a group of more than 4000 man-made chemicals that have a proven effectiveness in resisting heat, stains and grease. This makes them useful for a range of applications, particularly in fire-fighting foams.
However, since PFAS can travel long distances through soil and infiltrate groundwater, industry and governments have now recognised them as problematic in the environment.
Over the past 20 years, the Australian Government has worked to reduce the use of certain PFAS in products, but they still pose a significant challenge for infrastructure projects such as the Westgate Tunnel, or where fire-fighting foams are used, including at airports.
Partnership shows VU’s commitment to protecting country
Professor Stephen Gray, executive director of VU’s Institute for Sustainability and Liveable Cities said VU is pleased to repay EGL’s confidence in VU’s water expertise by helping the company identify water treatment opportunities for its technology.
“The EGL technology has immense potential and we are now looking to extend the research from laboratory-scale to larger-scale pilot studies for treatment of PFAS-contaminated soil,” he said.
Based on VU research efforts and support, EGL has recently conducted a successful commercial trial at Reclaim Waste in Laverton North for PFAS removal from water and soil. EGL is currently applying to the Environmental Protection Agency to expand this trial.
EGL Water has proved to be one of the best performing shares on the Australian Stock Market in recent years due to its successful solutions to environmental challenges related to water treatment, air pollution, exhaust systems, bio-waste, and recycling.