Legacy Contaminants: Tackling PCBs

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been a historical pollutant at industrial facilities throughout the United States and the world. PCBs were used in capacitors and transformers as well as building materials, paints, and sealants prior to being banned in 1979. These contaminants continue to be one of the leading causes of water quality impairment within the U.S. as they are hazardous at low levels.

Roux Associates has developed an innovative Natural Media Filter (NMF) technology that is able to cost-effectively remove and sequester PCBs at parts per trillion (ppt) levels. Our NMF technology has been instrumental in meeting stringent PCB discharge limits, and has resulted in savings of up to 86 percent in capital cost and 90 percent in annual operating cost when compared to conventional treatment alternatives. Roux has received regulatory approval in Pennsylvania and Indiana where we installed our NMF systems to remove PCBs from stormwater.

To address PCB contamination, several states and regions including Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California have, or are in the process of, evaluating PCB contributions to address impaired watersheds, including the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits. New TMDLs combined with analytical methods that have lower detection limits (USEPA Method 1668), can trigger investigation and remediation, even at sites that have previously been remediated. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control recently released a report on PCB Mass Loading, identifying specific facilities as potential contributors of PCBs and establishing the groundwork for a new TMDL. Additionally, the State of Virginia is expected to release several PCB TMDLs for new watersheds/rivers within the next 12 months.

Roux Associates has been successful in navigating all aspects of the PCB regulatory process including developing one of the first industrial Pollutant Minimization Plans to be approved in Virginia. Our approach focuses on reducing investigation costs and designing efficient and economical treatment systems to remove and sequester PCBs from facility discharge.

If you would like to learn more about the above topic and/or our NMF technology, click below to get in touch with a Roux Associates’ expert.

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