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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Advisor 1

Daisuke Minakata

Committee Member 1

Audra Morse

Committee Member 2

Michael Mullins


Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of emerging and potentially carcinogenic contaminants that are widespread throughout the global environment. Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) that utilize ultraviolet (UV)/persulfate to generate highly reactive sulfate radicals (SO4•-) are a potential treatment option for aqueous PFAS compounds. While experiments have demonstrated full degradation of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one type of PFAS, via UV/persulfate AOP, there is limited understanding of the chemical kinetics of this system, as well as its ability to degrade other types of PFAS. In this study, a simplified pseudo-steady-state (PSS) model and a non-steady-state (NSS) model were created to elucidate the degradation kinetics of PFOA in the UV/persulfate AOP. The PSS model revealed that chloride ions and bicarbonate are major scavengers of SO4•- in surface water and are prohibitive to the degradation of PFOA. The PSS model was determined to be sufficient for preliminary design calculations and has the ability to accurately predict EE/O and the associated cost. The NSS model is capable of predicting PFOA degradation within a factor of 0.05 of experimental results and has the potential to be expanded to encompass other PFAS compounds and aqueous environments. The NSS model was also proven to be superior to Kintecus, the industry-standard kinetic modeling software.