Todd Williams

Todd Williams

Todd Williams

Jacobs Engineering | "PFAS in Biosolids Composts"

South Lyon, MI |

USCC Member

Mr. Williams has a 40-year career in environmental engineering with operating and design experience and specific emphasis in biosolids management planning, and product utilization. Todd has assisted many wastewater utilities, agencies and communities throughout North America in developing sustainable biosolids management programs and is a recognized biosolids composting facility design expert. He has direct experience with established and emerging biosolids treatment technologies such as digestion, drying, pyrolysis, gasification and composting. Todd is the past Chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Committee and currently serves as Jacobs Engineering’s Residuals Resource Recovery Practice Leader.

Session Code: C3

Session Name: Chemical Contamination

Session Time: Wed, January 27, Round 3, 12-1:15 PM EST

Session Description: While physical contaminants like plastic and glass are obvious headaches for compost manufacturers, chemical contamination has been getting headlines around the country. Get updates and learn what you can do to protect yourself from two of these: Persistent Herbicide and PFAS.

Presentation Title: PFAS in Biosolids Composts

Presentation Description: Per- and Poly- Fluoroalkyl Substances  (PFAS) are a large family of organic compounds, including more than 3,000 synthetic fluorinated organic chemicals used since the 1940s. PFAS have unique surfactant properties that make them repel both water and oil. Because of these properties, they have been used extensively in firefighting foams, surface coatings, and protectant formulations for consumer products, including paper and cardboard packaging products, carpets, leather products and clothing, construction materials, and nonstick coatings. Manufacturers of these items often discharge to water resource recovery facilities (WRRF’s). Landfill leachate discharge and household sewage are also common sources of PFAS in WRRF influent. Conventional sewage treatment methods do not efficiently remove PFAS which are resilient to degradation tend to sequester to the treated solids produced and the resultant biosolids.

Application of biosolids from WRRFs as a soil amendment can result in a transfer of PFAS to soil, which can potentially leach to groundwater or be available for uptake by plants and soil organisms and biomagnify to grazing livestock. PFAS have been detected in soils, groundwater, crops, and livestock near agricultural fields that receive industrially impacted or PFAS-contaminated biosolids products, fueling public concern.  Recently Jacobs has performed testing of several composts produced from non-industrially impacted biosolids to assess the concentration of PFAS compounds in biosolids based compost products.  Samples were analyzed for 24 PFAS compounds.

This presentation will provide information regarding the measured concentrations of PFAS in these biosolids based compost products, as well as the material components used to generate the compost. If various state biosolids PFAS guidance concentrations are developed by the time of the conference, the concentrations measured will be compared against such guidance values. This information will be useful for planners, administrators, engineers and operators who are considering the development of biosolids composting operations.