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$1.4 million disposal program for firefighting foam containing PFAS

The state of Michigan has approved new funding to collect and dispose of PFAS-containing foam. The seven-month program will safely dispose of more than 30,000 gallons of class B aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).

Firefighters use the PFAS-containing foam to extinguish gasoline, oil, and jet fuel. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) gave US Ecology of Livonia the $1.4 million contact.

Scott Dean is with EGLE. He says, "US Ecology will go out and collect this foam from the various fire departments, many of which have told us they don't need it, don't use it. Sometimes they inherited it from industrial customers or from airports that just didn't need it anymore. So, a lot of it has been sitting around unused but it represents a risk."

The liquid will be solidified, then go to a hazardous waste landfill. Dean says, "But, the landfill will also contain a three-layer liner, a leachate collection system that also uses activated carbon filtration to future guard against this PFAS-containing material."

In a press release, EGLE says:

“Michigan remains a leader in removing sources of PFAS contamination from our water,” said MPART executive director Steve Sliver. “We believe this is the largest collection and disposal effort yet among the handful of states that are taking action to prevent future contamination from Class B AFFF. This product has been responsible for contaminating drinking water around hundreds of US Air Force bases and commercial airports across the country and Michigan calls on the EPA, Department of Defense and FAA to take more action on this growing environmental and public health threat.”

Dean says the foam will continued to be used, but fire departments have received training on how to better use it. 

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