Michigan starts collecting firefighting foam containing PFAS | Michigan Radio

Michigan starts collecting firefighting foam containing PFAS

Dec 13, 2019

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week, the state began collecting PFAS-containing firefighting foam, known as Class B AFFF, that has been held in inventory by fire departments and commercial airports across Michigan.

According to Scott Dean, the spokesman for the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), the effort is part of the state's $1.4 million plan to collect and dispose of about 35,000 gallons of the foam.

Dean said the goal of the plan is to prevent future environmental contamination from the foam.

"This is really important because this PFAS-containing firefighting foam has been responsible for contaminating drinking water around hundreds of military bases and commercial airports across the country," said Dean.

So far crews have collected 1,260 gallons from the Lansing Fire Department, the Lansing Township Fire Department and Capital Regional International Airport.

"We'll have a crew over the next several weeks going across the state to collect more than 35,000 gallons of this PFAS-containing firefighting foam that was uncovered during our survey of fire departments across the state last year," Dean said.

After the foam is picked up, it will be shipped to a facility in Idaho. There it will be solidified and placed in a licensed hazardous waste landfill.

Known as per- and polyflouroalkyl substances,  PFAS are a group of industrial chemicals that are used in many products including firefighting foam, food packaging, and carpeting. Studies have linked PFAS to health problems.