Research on PFAS, Other Emerging Contaminants Complete

Jan. 28, 2022

Evaluated effects of water quality and microbial growth on contaminant removal


Reverse osmosis membranes and activated carbon filters demonstrated average PFAS removal efficiencies greater than 90% in a research study funded by the Water Quality Research Foundation. A full report on the research conducted by Dr. Zhi (George) Zhou at Purdue University on the removal efficiencies of three PFAS chemicals with different carbon chain lengths by the point-of-use technologies is being released.

“Dr. Zhou’s research will help guide the water quality industry in developing cost-effective treatment devices and new ways of mitigating risks of emerging contaminants in drinking water,” said Rebecca Tallon of A.O. Smith, WQRF Research Task Force Chair.

POU systems, which treat drinking water closest to the point of consumption, provide many benefits to remove trace-level contaminants remaining in treated water. Although PFAS, manganese, and Legionella pneumophila frequently occur in drinking water, limited studies have been done to evaluate removal of these emerging contaminants by POU technologies.

To address the knowledge gap, Zhou investigated the removal efficiencies of three PFAS chemicals with different carbon chain lengths (PFOS, PFBS, and PFHxS), Manganese, Uranium, and L. pneumophila by RO membranes and AC filters. Zhou also studied the effects of water quality and microbial growth on removal of these emerging contaminants.

Average PFAS removal efficiencies of greater than 90% were demonstrated for all POU devices tested. Among the three evaluated PFAS, higher removal efficiencies were observed in long-chain PFAS (carbon chain-length ≥ 6), while relatively low removal efficiencies were observed for short-chain PFBS.

For removal efficiencies of the other emerging contaminants, visit the full report at

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