MDOT/EGLE/MPART first-of-its-kind grant program deploys airport firefighting equipment eliminating possible PFAS exposure pathway

Contact: Michael Frezell, MDOT Office of Communications, 517-281-6519, FrezellM@Michigan.gov
Agency: Transportation

Fast facts:
- The MAC approved nearly $25,000 in grants to 19 airports to purchase new firefighting foam testing equipment to prevent PFAS from being released into the environment.
- The equipment connects to existing airport firefighting vehicles, which allows them to conduct federally required tests to ensure operation in the event of an emergency.

September 12, 2019 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC), and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), through the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), have partnered with all 19 commercial service airports in Michigan to deploy groundbreaking aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) testing equipment that eliminates a potential source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) release into the environment. 

"Under existing federal rules, commercial service airports are required to test ARFF equipment, including firefighting foam proportioning systems, to ensure aviation-related fires can be extinguished quickly in an emergency situation," said Mike Trout, executive administrator of the MDOT Office of Aeronautics, director of the MAC, and MPART delegate. "Given that we now more fully understand the concerns associated with some types of firefighting foam, establishing this grant program and bringing this new testing equipment to Michigan quickly was paramount."

Approved by the MAC on March 27, the grant program provides each commercial service airport in Michigan with nearly $25,000 each to acquire environmentally conscious firefighting foam testing devices, such as the Ecologic System manufactured by E-One or the Oshkosh ECO EFP. These types of devices connect to existing ARFF trucks to ensure proper foam proportioning without the need to dispense any firefighting foam concentrate, which eliminates a potential pathway for PFAS to enter the environment while ensuring the readiness of airport firefighting equipment.

"More than half of the commercial service airports in Michigan have fielded this equipment as of today," said Trout. "We expect to have the systems in place at each of our commercial service airports very shortly."