Anion exchange resin removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from impacted water: A critical review

Treavor H. Boyer, Yida Fang, Anderson Ellis, Rebecca Dietz, Youn Jeong Choi, Charles E. Schaefer, Christopher P. Higgins, Timothy J. Strathmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


A key gap in the literature on the treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in impacted water is the absence of a review article dedicated to anion exchange resin (AER) treatment. This gap is important because previous research has consistently shown adsorption by AER to be one of the most effective treatment processes for PFAS removal from impacted water, and AER is one of the most commonly deployed technologies in the field. Given the scope of the previous review articles on PFAS removal by various adsorbent types, the sections on AER do not explore the full depth of PFAS and AER interactions nor cover the breadth of AER testing conditions. Accordingly, the goal of this paper was to critically review the available peer-reviewed literature on PFAS removal from water by AER. The specific objectives of the review were to synthesize the previous literature results on (1) batch adsorption behavior, (2) impact of water chemistry conditions, (3) continuous-flow adsorption, (4) adsorption modeling, (5) regeneration, and (6) weak-base AER. Following from critical review of the literature, the future research priorities discussed include: (i) improving the underlying science that governs PFAS–resin interactions, (ii) improving methods for resin regeneration and management of PFAS-contaminated concentrate streams, and (iii) comparative life cycle environmental and economic analyses for ion exchange treatment systems relative to competing technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117244
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021


  • Natural organic matter
  • Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS)
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Polyacrylic resin
  • Polystyrene resin
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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