Reducing the potential magnitude of the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) liability will require a sustained effort to identify the best technologies to characterize, treat, and manage these sites. Efficient and meaningful investigations will require significant improvements in the current understanding of PFAS toxicity and behavior in the environment, as well as improvements in sampling and analysis of PFAS. A substantial fraction of impacted sites will likely require remediation. Given the recalcitrance and complexity of PFAS, as well as the low cleanup levels likely to be required, advances in current remediation technologies are needed to improve effectiveness and greatly reduce costs. SERDP and ESTCP have funded hundreds of projects that have quickly and significantly advanced our understanding and management of PFAS in the environment. Our work evaluates a range of potential treatment technologies, ecotoxicological effects, and improved AFFF site characterization. An overview of these investments is shown below.

Occurrence, Fate, & Transport

Improved understanding in characterizing and modelling the nature of sources (and associated plumes) will lead to more targeted remediation strategies for sites posing the greatest risk. SERDP and ESTCP are funding efforts to better understand the occurrence, fate and transport of PFAS in the environment.

Treatment of PFAS-Impacted Matrices

SERDP and ESTCP fund the development and demonstration of PFAS treatment technologies that include a wide variety of different processes and generally fall into the following categories: thermal treatment, treatment of investigation derived waste (IDW), biodegradation, in situ groundwater treatment, development of new sorbents, above-ground treatment, and the impact of co-occurring chemicals. 

Sampling & Analysis

SERDP and ESTCP are focused on improving sampling and analysis for PFAS in environmental matrices. Significant efforts are underway to develop passive sampling methodologies, improve total organic fluorine (TOF), and develop a forensics approach to PFAS in the environment.

Ecotoxicity of PFAS

SERDP and ESTCP efforts to close knowledge gaps in ecotoxicity and ecological risk will aid in the development of appropriate site-specific risk assessments and help in decision-making related to mitigation of exposures and/or future environmental cleanup. Current projects are addressing impacts of PFAS to several species, including but not limited to avian, mammalian, and reptilian species. 

Workshop Report:
Long Term Mgmt of Impacted Groundwater
Workshop Report:
PFAS R&D Needs
Workshop Report:
PFAS R&D Needs
Ecotoxicity Workshop
        Coating Development 
      Enhanced Firefighting Agents 
  Creation of Reference Material Ecotoxicity of Alternative Surfactant Formulations Ecotoxicity of MixturesAnalytical Methods for Alternative Surfactant FormulationsConcentration & Sequestration 
  Source Zones Alternative Surfactant Formulations Ecotoxicity in the Marine EnvironmentAFFF Impacted Concrete & AsphaltAnalytical & Environmental Sampling Methods 
  Investigation Derived Waste Biodegradation Ecotoxicity & Risk in Avian SpeciesStormwater ManagementDestructive Treatment Processes 
2011 In Situ Groundwater Remediation In Situ & Ex Situ Groundwater RemediationMultilab Method ValidationPassive Sampling Methodologies Impacted Material TreatmentTransformation in Soil & GroundwaterFate & TransportImpacted Materials Treatment
2014 In Situ Groundwater RemediationCo-Occuring Chemicals in GroundwaterEcorisk/Assessing Remediation EffectivenessEcological Risk CharacterizationAnalytical Methods to Assess Leaching & MobilityAmendments for In Situ Groundwater RemediationFire Suppressant EnhancementsFirefighting Agents PerformanceSelf-Assembly BehaviorPhysical-Chemical Properties
2016 EcotoxicityNovel Surfactant FormulationsNovel Surfactant FormulationsAnalytical & Environmental Sampling MethodsForensic Methods for Source Tracking & AllocationThermal Destructive TechnologiesThermal Degradation in MunitionsFirefighting Agents TestingThermal Destructive ProcessesImpacted Microplastics
2011 - 2016201720182019202020212022202320242025
2015 FAQsEnhanced Persulfate OxidationIon Exchange & PlasmaPAC & FiltrationDestructionDestructionDestructionDestructionDestruction 
2016 Transport, Transformation & Retention Ex Situ TreatmentFoam FractionationConcentration & SequestrationConcentration & SequestrationConcentration & SequestrationConcentration & SequestrationConcentration & Sequestration 
   Real-Time Analytical MethodsFirefighting Systems CleaningTreatment TrainPrototype TechnologiesExcavated Sediments TreatmentMonitoring & Characterization 
   Alternative Surfactant FormulationsMonitoring & CharacterizationMonitoring & CharacterizationMonitoring & CharacterizationMonitoring & CharacterizationManagement Tools 
  Alternative Surfactant Formulations Alternative Surfactant FormulationsTechnology Transition  


 Treatment Ecotoxicity Fate, Transport & Characterization Analytical & Sampling Methods PFAS-Free AFFF Management Tools