Mobilization of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soils with different organic matter contents

Anirban Dhulia, Charbel Abou-Khalil, Jitendra Kewalramani, Dibyendu Sarkar, Michel C. Boufadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is considerable interest in addressing soils contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) because of the PFAS in the environment and associated health risks. The neutralization of PFAS in situ is challenging. Consequently, mobilizing the PFAS from the contaminated soils into an aqueous solution for subsequent handling has been pursued. Nonetheless, the efficiency of mobilization methods for removing PFAS can vary depending on site-specific factors, including the types and concentrations of PFAS compounds, soil characteristics. In the present study, the removal of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) from artificially contaminated soils was investigated in a 2D laboratory setup using electrokinetic (EK) remediation and hydraulic flushing by applying a hydraulic gradient (HG) for a duration of 15 days. The percent removal of PFOA by EK was consistent (∼80%) after a 15-day treatment for all soils. The removal efficiency of PFOS by EK significantly varied with the OM content, where the PFOS removal increased from 14% at 5% OM to 60% at 50% OM. With HG, the percent removal increased for both PFOA and PFOS from about 20% at 5% OM up to 80% at 75% OM. Based on the results, the mobilization of PFAS from organic soil would be appropriate using both hydraulic flushing and EK considering their applicability and advantages over each other for site-specific factors and requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number142503
StatePublished - Aug 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Adsorption isotherms
  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Electromigration
  • Electroosmosis
  • Permeability
  • Soil flushing


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