GR firm says its technology can break down ‘forever chemicals’

GRAND RAPIDS–Revive Environmental, an environmental contaminant mitigation and water treatment company, says its product “PFAS Annihilator,” is at work breaking down per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in landfill leachate at a wastewater treatment facility in Grand Rapids owned by Heritage-Crystal Clean.

This full-scale commercial deployment of the PFAS Annihilator is handling concentrated waste from more than 160,000 gallons of leachate per day and is the first permitted solution in the United States. The PFAS Annihilator is answering America’s burgeoning PFAS contamination problem and provides a certificate of destruction.

Originally designed as an armor coating in the 1940s, PFAS—widely known as “forever chemicals”—have been adapted for use in a wide array of consumer and industrial products such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant textiles, paint, metal plating, food packaging, and firefighting foams. The PFAS chemicals in these products seep into the environment. In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified more than 120,000 U.S. locations where people may be exposed to PFAS. Studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.

“We are providing a solution for this significant challenge,” said Revive President and CEO David Trueba. “Our mission is to globally restore communities’ confidence by safely and permanently destroying PFAS contamination.”

The deployment comes a year after the research organization Battelle demonstrated a smaller-scale, pilot version of the PFAS Annihilator at the same location in Grand Rapids. Battelle scientists and researchers have been developing methods of detecting and combatting PFAS contamination for two decades, and in the past five years worked intensively to invent a system to completely destroy PFAS chemicals.

Since that demonstration, Battelle developed a full-scale version of the PFAS Annihilator and realized the need to get to market with speed, so it launched Revive Environmental. Battelle transferred to Revive patented technologies—PFAS Annihilator​ and GAC Renew​—to isolate, remove and destroy PFAS chemicals in aqueous waste streams and other sources of contamination. Battelle was joined in the launch by the Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund Viking Global Investors.

The PFAS Annihilator is not limited to destroying PFAS in landfill leachate–it can also process aqueous PFAS waste from multiple sites and sources and for other applications that include industrial wastewater, soil remediation and Aqueous Film Forming Foam firefighting foams. By destroying PFAS, the PFAS Annihilator can supplant traditional methods of disposal that include sending PFAS-laden waste to landfills or deep well injection sites, and thermal treatment using incineration which may not completely destroy PFAS.

As part of its growth campaign, Revive is seeking partners for different applications to offer customers full lifecycle solutions that safely and effectively eliminate PFAS contamination and the associated liability. Revive’s deployment with Heritage-Crystal Clean is the first example of such a partnership.

Brian Recatto, President and CEO of Heritage-Crystal Clean, provided initial industry leadership in seeing the PFAS Annihilator’s potential for leachate. He hosted the pilot-scale demonstration and then developed a partnership called 4neve, the first closed-loop PFAS remediation system which includes the PFAS Annihilator as the destruction technology. This 4never partnership is exclusive to private landfill leachate applications in the U.S.

In this first deployment in Michigan, Heritage-Crystal Clean will work with multiple landfills, transporting, separating and concentrating their leachate. As the PFAS Annihilator comes up to full capacity, it will process between 300 to 500 gallons of concentrated landfill leachate per day (representing 300,000 to 500,000 gallons of raw leachate) to completely destroy the PFAS contained in it. Once the contaminated fluids are processed by the PFAS Annihilator, the only byproducts remaining are clean effluent water, carbon dioxide and inert salts.

Heritage Crystal-Clean will discharge the clean effluent water to publicly owned water treatment works. Heritage-Crystal Clean maintains a discharge permit that includes regular monitoring to confirm compliance with discharge limits. In Michigan, state and local regulatory agencies have already conducted multiple inspections and concur that the process is protective of human health and the environment. Engineering calculations have confirmed that discharges to the atmosphere are negligible. Plans and permits are all in place to confirm ongoing environmental compliance. Each state and county have differing regulations, so as Revive expands its solutions across the U.S., it will partner with local communities to ensure the delivery of treated, certified water that confidently can be discharged back into the environment with no PFAS.

Revive Environmental is taking capacity commitments for the additional six units scheduled for 2023 and expects to add significantly more units in 2024. Field demonstrations and treatability assessments for landfill leachate, industrial wastewater, soil remediation and AFFF are already underway and now further enhanced by the commercial deployment in Michigan.

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