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MDOT honored for innovative grant program to prevent PFAS contamination at commercial airports

Fast facts:

  • MDOT received the Most Innovative State Program Award from NASAO at their annual conference. 
  • The award recognizes a grant program to deploy ARFF foam testing equipment to 18 commercial Michigan airports.
  • This equipment eliminates a potential source of PFAS release into the environment.

September 16, 2020 -- Today, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) was honored with the Most Innovative State Program Award from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) for the first-of-its-kind grant program to deploy groundbreaking aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) foam testing equipment to 18 commercial Michigan airports. This equipment eliminates a potential source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) release into the environment. 

Presented during the 2020 NASAO Virtual Conference and Exposition held Sept. 14-16, the award recognizes truly unique and service-oriented state aviation programs, projects, and activities. NASAO has a long tradition of calling the aviation community's attention to individual state aviation programs. Many innovative aviation programs that began at the state level have spread to other states or in some cases have been adopted or accepted by the federal government and the aviation community.

"I'm pleased that MDOT was recognized for such an innovative program that we provided to our important airport partners," State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba said. "Our Office of Aeronautics staff worked hard to ensure our commercial airports took advantage of this fantastic program that will ultimately help protect the environment they operate in."

Awarded in 2019, the grant program provides each commercial service airport with nearly $25,000 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.          

"Looking back at the nearly three years since the interagency MPART (Michigan PFAS Action Response Team) was created, I'm thrilled at how much work has been done in the state of Michigan to protect our citizens from such pervasive chemicals," said Mike Trout, executive administrator of the MDOT Office of Aeronautics, director of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC), and MPART delegate. "I'm proud that MDOT and the MAC played such an integral role in the response."

This is the first time since 1992 that Michigan has received this award from NASAO.