PFAS pollution requires good and rapid solutions

October 12, 2023
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Geminor is involved in the removal of large quantities of PFAS-contaminated materials in Europe. – PFAS contamination is extensive at many industrial areas and airports, and is a challenge we must collectively find good solutions for," says the person responsible for hazardous waste at Geminor, Bjørn Håland.

Geminor is assisting in the removal of significant quantities of PFAS-contaminated soil in various projects in Europe - materials that are also sent to Norway for secure final treatment. Projects like these require comprehensive mapping, planning, and preparation to be executed in a regulated and safe manner.

Today's PFAS challenges in Europe are larger than most people realize, explains the person responsible for hazardous waste at Geminor, Bjørn Håland.

– Since the 1950s, many airports and industrial areas have been contaminated with various per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The main culprit at airports is firefighting foam from fire drills. Today, there are millions of tons of PFAS-contaminated materials waiting to be handled properly," explains Bjørn Håland.

PFAS can also be found in many everyday products that surround us.

Bjørn Håland, Geminor.

Lack of Good Solutions

Projects that Geminor is involved in involve handling permits, logistics, and final treatment. These processes quickly become lengthy and challenging if not done correctly. Both the time, costs, and lack of knowledge make many contractors, waste companies, and local authorities hesitant to tackle necessary cleanup, according to Håland.

– In Europe today, there is a lack of good solutions for these contaminated materials. Often, it is complicated for contractors and local waste companies to handle PFAS, as they often have to adhere to international laws and regulations.

– The solution to the challenges is complex but involves more parties taking responsibility. Long lead times mean that the parties disposing of PFAS must plan this carefully and early. At the same time, authorities must facilitate a more flexible bureaucracy, whether we are talking about special disposal or other solutions. This is crucial if we are to handle these environmental toxins in a faster and more responsible manner," concludes the person responsible for hazardous waste at Geminor, Bjørn Håland.