Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Yanna Liang

Committee Member

Pauline Carrico


PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and their precursors are environmental contaminants that have been found to be very harmful to both humans and the surrounding environment. These substances are both intentionally used in manufacturing, and also byproducts of other industrial processes, and as a result are found just about everywhere. PFAS virtually do not degrade naturally, so it is necessary for us to find an efficient and cost-effective way to adsorb and/or degrade them manually. Previously tested methods either have not performed well overall or have not performed well in the context of PFAS in WTTP (wastewater treatment plant) activated sludge. This study implemented SBR (sequencing batch reactor) to simulate the sludge from WWTP, and the use of modified clay sorbent to adsorb the PFAS spiked into the activated sludge. The two precursors tested were N-EtFOSAA and 6:2 FTSA, and after spiking them in sludge, sorbents were added and left to sit for periods of 5, 18, and 47 days. At each timepoint the samples were sequentially extracted with water, SPLP, and methanol to assess the sorbents’ performances. The 1% unmodified clay, 1% modified clay, and 1% PAC were the sorbents tested, and after analyzing the leachate with LC-MS/MS it was observed that 1% modified clay was the most efficient at stabilizing both precursors.

Available for download on Saturday, May 31, 2025

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