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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Comparison of PFAS soil remediation alternatives at a civilian airport using cost-benefit analysis

Drenning, P.; Volchko, Y.; Ahrens, L.; Rosen, L.; Soderqvist, T.; Norrman, J.


Contamination of soil and water systems by per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to uncontrolled use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) at firefighting training sites at civilian and military airports is a universal issue and can lead to significant human health and environmental impacts. Remediation of these sites is often complex but necessary to alleviate the PFAS burden and minimise the risks of exposure by eliminating the hotspot/source from which the PFAS spreads. This study presents a probabilistic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for evaluating PFAS reme-diation alternatives, which includes monetisation of both direct costs and benefits as well as externalities. The method is applied for a case study to compare five remediation alternatives for managing PFAS contaminated soil at Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden. The social profitability, or the net present value (NPV), of each remediation alternative was calculated in comparison to two reference alternatives - 'total excavation' of the site (Alt 0) or 'do nothing'. Sensitivity analyses and model scenarios were tested to account for uncertainties, including small or large PFAS spreading and simulating different values for the magnitude of annual avoided cost of inaction (i.e., aggregate benefit) from PFAS re-mediation. In comparison to total excavation, four of the five studied remediation alternatives resulted in a positive mean NPV. Excavation and stabilization/solidification of the hotspot on-site combined with stabilization using acti-vated carbon for the rest of site (Alt 2) had the highest NPV for both spreading scenarios, i.e., Alt 2 was the most so-cially profitable alternative. Simulations of the annual avoided cost of inaction enabled estimation of the breakeven point at which a remediation alternative becomes socially profitable (NPV > 0) compared to 'do nothing'. Alt 2 had the lowest breakeven point: 7.5 and 5.75 millions of SEK/year for large and small spreading, respectively.


Cost-benefit analysis (CBA); Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); Gentle remediation options (GRO); Sustainable remediation; Ecosystem services; Decision-support

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2023, Volume: 882, article number: 163664
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
    SDG3 Good health and well-being

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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