Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2022

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Prof Allison Luengen



Poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemical compounds, which are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Because they bind strongly to soil, they are challenging to eliminate, and traditional methods have not been successful for soil remediation. I have reviewed a conceptual site model for aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) release and performed a strength, weakness, opportunities, and threat (SWOT) analysis for existing and emerging technologies to recommend sustainable soil remediation methods. The review of the conceptual model showed that PFAS characteristics, transport mechanisms, and precursor transformation have to be assessed before selecting a remediation method. The SWOT analysis results showed that the immobilization methods, soil washing, and thermal desorption have been a significant part of remediation solutions for PFAS contaminated soils. Though they are applied at the field scale, further studies are still needed, due to limitations, such as high energy requirement for thermal desorption, large volume of solvents required for soil washing, and long term stability concern for immobilization methods. Smoldering combustion and ball milling have high potential and are being examined in laboratories. A review of two case studies showed that thermal desorption is suitable for a site that has all types of PFAS with co-contaminants and immobilization is suitable for a site with major long chain PFAS contamination. Recommendations to control PFAS soil pollution are: 1)reduce sources of PFAS at fire fighting areas; 2)regulate PFAS as hazardous substances; 3)promote the best practices for proper handling of AFFF; and 4)develop the best practices for the remedial treatment technologies.

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