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Brett Turner
Brett Turner

Research Fellow, The Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering
The University of Newcastle

Dr Brett Turner has more than 15 years experience in the areas of georemediation with research into remediation of industrial sites, including the application of permeable reactive barriers to the remediation of contamination from aluminum smelter wastes, as well as phytoremedation and mass stabilisation of tributyl tin contaminated sediment from the shipping industry. With a background in biology, chemistry, and geotechnical engineering he brings a unique perspective to to the field of environmental engineering with an award winning and patented proposal for PFAS remediation. He is also a member of the New South Wales state government PFAS remediation advisory panel.

Novel Remediation of PFAS Contamination Using Plant Proteins

PFASs are considered almost non-degradable in nature and therefore many conventional treatment approaches are not effective for PFASs in water. One process commonly implemented for PFAS removal from solution utilises granulated activated carbon (GAC) in conjunction with reverse osmosis (RO) resin to increase the number of PFASs removed during treatment. Combining GAC filtration with reverse osmosis adds significantly to the complexity and costs of PFAS remediation with the process generating by-products including PFAS contaminated GAC, and and a concentrated final PFAS liquor, both of which are currently stockpiled due to the expense and problems associated with final destruction. Using groundwater obtained from Williamtown Royal Australian Air Force base, experiments by the authors show that plant proteins (patent pending) are highly effective at removing PFASs from solution with more than 98.5% PFOS and PFOA removed to below drinking water limits and that once exhausted, the residual plant material can be incinerated.

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