PFAS in waste residuals from Swedish incineration plants

Författare: Johan Strandberg, Raed Awad, Dämien Johann Bolinius, Jing-Jing Yang, Jasmin Sandberg, Musbau Adeoye Bello, Laura Gobelius, Liselott Egelrud, Eva-Lena Härnwall, IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet
Publicerad: 2021

Sammanfattning:

Incineration is the dominant treatment for residual waste in Sweden. It is desirable to reach complete thermal oxidation of chemical substances in the incineration process to destroy toxic substances contained in waste. Otherwise, there is a risk of toxic substances being released into the environment through incineration residuals. This project has investigated to which extent Swedish waste incineration plants emit PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to the environment via bottom ash, fly ash and condensate water. Emissions were defined as a stream of substances that leaves the plants, irrespective of where this stream leads.

Of 37 incineration plants in Sweden, 27 (in total 31 furnaces) joined the project, answered questionnaires about operating parameters, and sampled incineration residuals. Instructions on carrying out the sampling were sent to the plant operators with a specified sampling protocol. The purpose of the sampling plan was to obtain samples that are representative of typical operating conditions covering most of the Swedish plants. Five samples from each matrix, fly ash, bottom ash, or condensate water, were collected during a two-week period to compensate for the variation over time. These samples were mixed (pooled) to obtain an average sample concentration closer to the actual average concentration.

The collected samples of bottom ash, fly ash and condensate were analysed for 27 different PFAS according to a methodology developed by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, based on LC-MS / MS. The chemicals have been divided into PFSA, PFSA precursors, PFCA, and PFCA precursors.

Analysis showed detectable levels of PFAS-27 in the pooled bottom ash samples from 9 out of 31 furnaces, in concentrations between 0.22 to 12.76 μg/kg. PFCA precursors, especially 6:2 diPAP was the dominant type found in 6 of the 9 furnaces. For fly ash, there were detectable levels of PFAS-27 in 15 out of 31 furnaces, at concentrations between 0.18 to 37.71 μg/kg. In 12 of those 15 samples, the total PFAS-27 concentration was below 2 μg/ kg. Three samples stand out from the others, with concentrations above 21.3 μg/kg. For condensate water, there were detectable levels of PFAS-27 in 13 out of 31 furnaces, at concentrations between 0.28 to 182.95 ng/L. The most dominant PFAS were total PFCA with a large representation of shortchain PFCA’s.

Out of the 27 incineration plants in this project, five plants had no samples with PFAS-27 concentrations above the analytical limit of detection in any of the matrices. Generally, the results show low concentrations in the sampled matrices from most plants, with a few exceptions. No apparent relationships were found between the analysed concentrations of PFAS in the sampling matrices and the operational data. Therefore, high incineration temperatures or a high proportion of a particular type of waste is not a guarantor of low concentrations of PFAS.


Författare: Johan Strandberg, Raed Awad, Dämien Johann Bolinius, Jing-Jing Yang, Jasmin Sandberg, Musbau Adeoye Bello, Laura Gobelius, Liselott Egelrud, Eva-Lena Härnwall, IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet
Publicerad: 2021
Antal sidor: 32

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