Water Treatment

Water Treatment

Worldwide, there is a growing attention from governmental bodies on the issue of PFAS. With this, five EU countriesjoined forces to strive for an almost complete ban on the production and use of all PFAS.

Due to the European Water Framework, there is also more attention for PFAS being discharged (directly or indirectly) in open waters. In the Netherlands, numerous discharge permits are being reviewed in order to assess if substances of very high concern (SVHC) are being discharged in levels that are considered too high.

The Dutch waterboards have recently stated that granular activated carbon (GAC) is to be regarded as the best available technology (BAT) against PFAS. Following this, our PCTS partners Hoelscher Wasserbau, Tjaden and Arcadis have shown in numerous projects that GAC is an effective adsorbent for PFAS (particularly long-chain PFAS). Hoelscher Wasserbau, for instance, used GAC at a large scale in the dewatering project at Frankfurt Airport.

The removal of PFAS from water streams using GAC becomes more costly if other contaminants or substances are present. Because of this, various producers of activated carbon now market specific types of activated carbon specifically suited for PFAS removal. On top of that, we see the development of new types of adsorbents like Osorb®, Fluorosorb® and other specific resins. 

Our PCTS partners have relevant experience with the use of these new types of adsorbents in bench scale, pilot tests and full-scale application.

Under all circumstances, the efficacy of the absorption process increases with an improved pre-treatment step. Removing naturally occurring constituent from the water and other contamination increase the stand time of the adsorbent.

Selecting the proper pre-treatment can be difficult for complex water systems (for instance, landfill leachate or industrial wastewater). In those cases, more aggressive technologies such as electro-coagulation, foam or ozofractionation might be more favourable. Australian-based company Evocra and Arcadis have signed an agreement on the usage of such technology.   

As PCTS partners, we will be able to provide the technology needed for your specific water issues, wherein technology selection can be based on small-scale column tests (SSCT) or pilot tests.

Contacts: Hoelscher Wasserbau – Lars Steijn ( and Arcadis (