Hemp could be key to solving PFAS contamination.
Hemp could be key to solving PFAS contamination.

Hemp could be the answer to fixing PFAS contamination

HEMP plants could be the key to treating water and soil contaminated by PFAS.

The Federal Government awarded $4.7 million to University of Newcastle researches in the 2019-20 budget to investigate the use of hemp seed proteins, and the hemp plant itself, to treat water and soil contaminated with PFAS.

Dr Brett Turner, from the University's Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering, said PFAS was considered almost non-degradable in nature and many conventional treatments for PFAS remediation were not effective, yet the costs of PFAS remediation technologies were exorbitant.

He said said the team's early findings, supported by an initial $600,000 grant from the New South Wales Government, were being further explored, and applied to the more complex challenge of contaminated soil.

"We found that hemp has a remarkable affinity for PFAS chemicals in groundwater, so we expect that this can be applied to remediate contaminated soil - an area where currently there are no options," Dr Turner said.

Priority Research Centre director Professor Scott Sloan said the next stage of the research would pioneer a more cost-effective way of removing chemical compounds from soil, groundwater and surface waters in a natural way.

Groundwater in and around Oakey is contaminated by PFAS after the chemical was used in fire-fighting foam at the Army Aviation Centre.



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