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Revolutionary new technology could 'annihilate' the toxic chemicals found in our drinking water: 'This is real now'

The process leaves harmless water that can be sent back to municipal wastewater plants.

Crystal Clean, annihilate’ the toxic chemicals in drinking water

Photo Credit: iStock

A group of four companies is working to ensure forever chemicals, also called PFAS, aren't everlasting. 

The innovators are using pressure and high heat to destroy the substances in wastewater before the toxins can harm people. 

If this latest tech breakthrough proves to be a reliable process, it could be the key to preventing the substances — already estimated to be in the blood of 97% of Americans — from further leaching into our lives.  

The effort is being showcased in Wyoming, Michigan, where Heritage-Crystal Clean uses the ingenious system to "annihilate" the harmful substances, tagged "forever" because of how long it takes them to degrade. 

Michigan Live detailed the process happening at Crystal Clean's waste treatment facility. The effort includes input from Allonnia, EPOC Enviro, and Revive Environmental — the developer of the aptly named PFAS Annihilator

The process starts by taking liquid landfill waste and separating the forever chemicals. Once collected, the concentrated toxic wastewater is transported to Revive's Annihilator, which fits into two shipping containers. 

Crystal Clean's Michigan facility can process 500 gallons a day. The chemical waste is treated with a special foam that helps to concentrate PFAS before being sent to the Annihilator. The treatment costs about 15 cents to 40 cents a gallon, all per Michigan Live. 

The process, using expertise from each of the companies involved, is being marketed as 4never.

The technical name for the treatment is "Supercritical Water Oxidation." In short, the heat and pressure transform the wastewater into a middle-ground state, neither liquid nor gas, according to Revive's website. This process allows for the powerful chemical bonds that hold forever chemicals together to break. 

The temperature reaches as high as 700 degrees, combined with 3,200 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure, Michigan Live reports. The process leads to harmless water that can be sent back to municipal wastewater plants and eventually the environment. Destroying the PFAS takes about a minute. 

"This is real now," Revive President David Trueba told Michigan Live about what is billed as "the first closed-loop PFAS remediation solution."

Heat and pressure have been used to purify water for decades, including purging radiation and nerve agents. This latest effort has been in the works for about five years. 

While the process requires a boost of electricity to work, Trueba told Michigan Live that some energy generated through chemical reactions from the operation itself can be recycled

The inventors said they are ready for more annihilation. Crystal Clean has 11 facilities set to onboard. Revive is hoping to ramp up manufacturing, producing up to 25 this year. 

"Expect to see us in other states soon," Crystal Clean President Brian Recatto told Michigan Live. 

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