Cost-effective remediation strategies to reduce release of PFAS from contaminated soil

Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS are synthetic organofluorine compounds with unique properties and widespread applications in different industries.

PFAS are known to be persistent and bioaccumulative. They are detected everywhere in soil, drinking water and air, and have also ended up in our food, bloodstream, and wildlife. However, the presence of PFAS in multiple media is related to the contaminated soil which can serve as a significant pool and long-term source for PFAS locally or globally. Treatment of the source zone contamination can significantly reduce their release and availability in the environment.

This research project will evaluate the combination of two soil remediation strategies - soil stabilisation and phytoremediation – to immobilise and reduce release of PFAS from soil. While activated carbon (AC) will be applied to immobilise PFAS in soil, a non-edible native Australian plant will be also grown in the AC-treated soil. Results from this project can provide insights on the suitability of the combined remediation technology for a variety of PFAS. This project will involve some basic plant growth, soil immobilisation, leaching assessments, and PFAS analysis. This project is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in a field of great environmental significance.

This project may be eligible for a $5000 student scholarship. Please contact the project supervisors for details and to express your interest.

Project supervisors

Dr Shervin Kabiri

Dr Shervin Kabiri 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine Fertiliser group. Her research interests are on developing carbon-based materials for soil remediation as well as developing tools for assessing mobility of contaminants in stabilised soils.

Dr Divina Navarro

Dr. Divina Navarro 

Research Scientist at CSIRO Land and Water based at Waite Campus. She is an environmental chemist working on understanding the fate and behaviour of emerging contaminants such as perfluoroalkyl substances and nanomaterials with the view to mitigate their potential risks. 

Tagged in Honours projects - Soil science, Honours projects - Chemistry