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Emery, I., D. Kempisty, B. Fain, and E. Mbonimpa.
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment [Published online 13 July 2018 prior to print]

To examine the life-cycle impacts of treating drinking water affected by perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), researchers assembled life-cycle models for groundwater treatment and bottled water delivery to residents of Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where wells were taken out of service due to concerns related to PFAS contamination. Two treatment methods, granular activated carbon filtration and ion-exchange columns, were modeled under a range of contaminant concentrations covering three orders of magnitude: 0.7, 7.0, and 70 µg/L PFAS. Impacts of bottled water production and supply were assessed using two data sets reflecting a range of production and supply chain assumptions. Results show that for PFAS concentrations <70 µg/L, the dominant contributor to life-cycle impacts is electricity use at the treatment facility. Production, reactivation, and disposal of treatment media become major sources of impact only at very high PFAS concentrations. Though the life-cycle impacts of bottled water are up to three orders of magnitude higher than remediated groundwater on a volumetric basis, supplementing a contaminated water supply with bottled drinking water may result in lower life-cycle human health impacts when only a small proportion of the total population is vulnerable. https://www.afit.edu/BIOS/publications/EmeryEtAl.2018.PDF

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