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Michigan PFAS firefighting foam disposal program surpasses 60K gallons collected

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) recently announced that it has collected more than 60,000 gallons of PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) from fire departments and commercial airports across the state as the $1.6 million AFFF pick-up and disposal program enters its fourth year.

Under a contract with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Republic (formerly US Ecology) of Livonia has collected 60,355 gallons of Class B AFFF that is being safely disposed at licensed hazardous waste landfill out of state.

PFAS firefighting foam stored in warehouse until it will be transported for disposal.

PFAS firefighting foam stored in a warehouse until it will be transported for disposal.


Staff from EGLE have been working at Republic’s Detroit North facility to document containers of AFFF concentrate collected throughout the state and are drawing samples for possible laboratory analysis in the future.

Following the staging and documentation process, the AFFF is transported by US Ecology to its facility in Idaho where it will be solidified and placed in a licensed hazardous waste landfill. The arid, desert conditions add a further level of protection against the solidified product ever leaching into a water body.

“Michigan’s proactive approach to attack PFAS contamination at the source has prevented tens of thousands of gallons of concentrated PFAS compounds from intentionally or unintentionally entering our watersheds,” said MPART executive director Abby Hendershott. “The work EGLE is doing to catalogue and possibly chemically fingerprint these firefighting foams has also helped us identify responsible parties when we discover contamination caused by Class B AFFF.”

The firefighting foam scheduled for disposal out-of-state 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. 

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 MPART’s initiative to survey and educate first responders on best practices around the use of firefighting foam, visit the MPART website.