Michigan to protect public from PFAS-containing firefighting foam under $1.4 million collection and disposal program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2019
Contact: EGLE Media Office, EGLE-assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) announced today the state has approved $1.4 million for the collection and disposal of PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) currently held in inventory by fire departments and commercial airports across the state.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) procurement office today awarded US Ecology of Livonia a seven-month, $1,441,671 contract to collect and safely dispose of more than 30,000 gallons of Class B AFFF.

“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.”

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.

“Receiving this funding is critical to our efforts to remove PFAS from our communities, protect the public, and reduce the risks of exposure to Michiganders,” Sehlmeyer said.

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 Belleville, Michigan where it will be solidified and then disposed of in the landfill. The landfill contains a three-layer liner, leachate collection system and activated carbon filtration to provide additional containment.

Known to scientists as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging, and many other consumer products. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers, and clothing manufacturers.

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

To stay up to date on other EGLE news, follow Michigan.gov/MIEnvironment.

# # #