Michigan program to collect, dispose of PFAS-containing firefighting foam surpasses 30,000 gallons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2020
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy contractors pickup for disposal PFOS containing firefighting foam. The foam was identified through a 2018 Michigan PFAS Action Response Team initiative to survey and educate fire departments throughout Michigan on the appropriate use and clean-up of PFAS-containing firefighting foam. Led by State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer, the survey identified 326 fire departments with Class B AFFF in their inventories - nearly half of the 762 departments surveyed.The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) announced today that the state’s $1.4 million effort to collect and safely dispose of surplus PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) held by fire departments and commercial airports across Michigan has surpassed 30,000 gallons.

“In less than a year, Michigan has succeeded in what is likely the nation’s largest collection and disposal program for PFAS-containing AFFF,” said MPART executive director Steve Sliver. “This product has been responsible for contaminating drinking water around hundreds of US Air Force bases and commercial airports across the country and we urge the EPA, Department of Defense and FAA to look at this program as a model for reducing the risk of PFAS contamination from federal facilities nationwide.”

The AFFF was identified through a 2018 MPART initiative to survey and educate fire departments throughout Michigan on the appropriate use and clean-up of PFAS-containing firefighting foam.

Led by State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer, the survey identified 326 fire departments with Class B AFFF in their inventories – nearly half of the 762 departments surveyed.

“As more and more fire departments became aware of our collection program, interest in disposing of this surplus AFFF increased,” Sehlmeyer said. “With the free collection program ending this summer, there is still time for fire departments and municipal airports to contact MPART and have their surplus AFFF collected.”

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) last year awarded US Ecology of Livonia a seven-month, $1,441,671 contract to collect and safely dispose of Class B AFFF.

Under the contract, US Ecology will collect Class B AFFF liquid from local fire departments and transport it to its licensed hazardous waste facility in Idaho where it will be solidified and disposed of on site.

Known to scientists as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a group of chemical contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products, and exposure to PFAS is correlated with several harmful and serious health effects. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers.

For more information on the program and the State Fire Marshal’s initiative to educate first responders on best practices around the use of firefighting foam, visit the MPART web site at Michigan.gov/PFASFoam.

To learn more about PFAS, visit the MPART website: Michigan.gov/PFASResponse.

Image description: Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy contractors pickup for disposal PFOS containing firefighting foam. The foam was identified through a 2018 Michigan PFAS Action Response Team initiative to survey and educate fire departments throughout Michigan on the appropriate use and clean-up of PFAS-containing firefighting foam. Led by State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer, the survey identified 326 fire departments with Class B AFFF in their inventories – nearly half of the 762 departments surveyed.

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