Calgon Carbon and Chemviron have offered the proven treatment solution for PFAS removal in both drinking water and remediation applications for over 15 years using our FILTRASORB granular activated carbon (GAC) and Mobile Equipment product lines. Chemviron provides a complete solution including activated carbon, mobile equipment, exchange services and reactivation.

Chemviron offers a full range of GAC mobile service  equipment—a simple and effective solution that requires little operator involvement. Testing is important for system design and cost performance information.

Communities already using GAC to remove T&O or other contaminants from drinking water sources have been protected from PFAS.

We have a focused PFAS Team in place and are ready to respond immediately with technical services, equipment and carbon supply.

What are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)?

  • Manmade fluorinated compounds which are not naturally found in the environment.
  • Are used in a variety of products such as fire fighting foams, coating additives as a surface-active agent.
  • PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) are the most commonly discussed PFAS , but PFAS is a class with over 4,000 compounds.
  • Large amounts of PFAS have been produced during historic manufacturing processes and released to the air, soil and water.

Why are PFAS harmful?

PFAS are persistent and mobile in the atmosphere and aqueous environments, due to their chemical stability and low volatility.

  • Animal toxicology studies indicate potential developmental, reproductive and systematic effects.
  • After oral exposure, PFAS accumulate and adsorb in the serum, kidney, and liver.
  • They are resistant to direct oxidation, photolytic degradation, biodegradation and air stripping/ vapour extraction, making their removal difficult.

What is the EPA's stance?

PFOS and PFOA are on the EPA’s Contaminant Candidate List 4 (CCL 4).

The EPA has taken steps to further investigate other PFAS and related chemicals as well as to reduce their emissions and use in products.

What is the EU's stance?

PFOA and PFOS have been listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and as a consequence, are now restricted under the EU POPs Regulation. Another long-chain PFAS (PFHxS), less widely used than PFOA and PFOS but often found in the environment and in human biomonitoring, is currently being assessed for a restriction under REACH and is also considered for listing under the Stockholm Convention.  Some longer chain PFAS (C9-C14 PFCAs) are not known to be intentionally used in the EU, but they can be present as impurities during the manufacture of other PFAS. A restriction process under REACH is ongoing for those substances.

What is the solution?

Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters are recognized as effective technologies for reducing PFAS compounds from water.

Incineration of any concentrated PFAS waste is required for complete destruction of these compounds. Spent activated carbon containing adsorbed species can be thermally reactivated, destroying the adsorbed contaminants and allowing the activated carbon to be recycled and reused.

Recent testing of Filtrasorb 400 virgin GAC shows successful removal of many PFAS including as examples:

  • Perfluorobutanoic Acid (PFBA)
  • Perfluoropentanoic Acid (PFPA)
  • Perfluorohexanoic Acid (PFHxA)
  • Perfluoroheptanoic Acid (PFHtA)
  • Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
  • Perfluorodeconaoic Acid (PFDA)
  • Gen X

The strong fluorine-carbon bond and low vapour pressure makes PFAS resistant to a number of other conventional water treatment technologies, including direct oxidation, biodegradation, air stripping, vapour extraction and direct photolysis (UV).

Since each water source contains different combinations and levels of PFAS, as well as TOC, it is recommended  that a lab or pilot test (such as an Accelerated Column Test or ACT) is  performed on a representative water sample to determine the adsorption zone needed, as well as the likely  carbon exhaustion rate, so as to properly design an appropriate activated carbon adsorption system.

What can Chemviron do for you?

Provide proven and cost effective solutions with activated carbon adsorption technology that cover a broad range of applications and system sizes.

  • Temporary and permanent GAC systems that can be rapidly deployed.
  • Our technical and engineering team can perform laboratory and field tests as needed, and tailor solutions for various application and customer needs. Calgon Carbon and Chemviron have carbon reactivation sites globally that will enable the reuse of the activated carbon.

Summary Report: Removal of Short Chain PFAS Compounds via GAC

Webinar: Granular Activated Carbon – A Proven Solution for PFAS Removal

Filtrasorb Granular Activated Carbon

Field Tests and Pilot Systems to Test Water

Case Study: GAC Removes PFAS from Drinking Water

Water World Article on PFAS

View Fact Sheet PFAS Treatment for Point of Entry Treatment Systems

Reactivation of activated carbon for Per- and Polyfuoroalkyl substances (PFAS) removal

Activated carbon is considered a standard technology for the removal through adsorption of PFAS molecules from raw drinking water or wastewater without formation of potentially toxic by-products. Thermal reactivation, a well-established high temperature process, mineralises the PFAS molecules adsorbed... Learn More >>


CCC FILTRASORB can remove typical levels of PFOA and PFOS to non-detect levels. Our studies show that reagglomerated, coal-based GAC performs significantly better than coconut for PFOA and PFOS removal. Even when local regulations require lower PFAS concentrations than the national ones, GAC is an effective solution.

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Short-chain PFAS

Coal based GAC effectively removes short chains. Our reagglomerated bituminous coal-based product will remove an array of PFAS including both long- and short-chain compounds.

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Reagglomerated coal-based GAC effectively removes GenX to non-detect levels.

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Granular Activated Carbon Removes PFAS from Drinking Water – Update New York Case Study

Calgon Carbon Initiates Emergency Response to PFAS Detection Blades, DE

Eielson Air Force Base Case Study