Arctic waste company opens for European contaminated PFAS

Recent investments in unique landfill services make Norwegian waste operator Perpetuum certified for receiving PFAS-contaminated soil from Europe.

Perpetuum is Northern Norway’s largest privately owned waste service operator. Since 2017, the group based in the county of Troms has invested EUR 3,5 million in upgrades that make them approved for handling PFAS-contaminated soil. Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are organic fluorine compounds and environmental toxins that have been used since the 1950s, and are today polluting landmasses internationally.

The biggest challenges with PFAS are normally found at airports, explains CEO of Perpetuum, Are Lorentsen.

– Fire extinguishing foams contained toxic PFAS substances up until 2007, and today we find that many airports have contaminated PFAS masses which need to be handled. These substances contaminate soil and water, making specialized landfill the best and safest end station, says Lorentsen.

– In practice, this type of closed landfill contributes to a chemical stabilization of contaminated soil, where residual industry products are used as a binding element – or sorbent. This technology works well for absorbing metals and PFAS, Lorentsen explains.

Today, Perpetuum has a capacity of around 400,000 tonnes of PFAS-contaminated soil, but the potential for further development can make the company able to receive as much as five million tonnes.

Looking to Europe

In order to map the European challenges in relation to PFAS, Perpetuum now commences a cooperation with Geminor. The partnership is based on finding possibilities of collecting and securing European PFAS and arranging all necessary permits and transport of masses to the Arctic.

– Internationally, there are hardly anyone who can offer specialized, sealed landfill cells of this kind. That makes Perpetuum quite unique in a European context. Our job now is to examine the extent of this pollution in Europe and see how we, together with Perpetuum, can handle these masses properly, says Kjetil Hausken, Country Manager at Geminor in Norway.

 

– The transport of such substances can be complicated, and the export and import of PFAS-contaminated masses is subject to regulation. Understanding the market and how best to contribute to the safe handling of PFAS will be our main task in this partnership, concludes Kjetil Hausken.