PFAS Fire Fighting Foam To Be Removed From Connecticut – NBC Connecticut


“This is the action plan that goes into effect,” said Diane Duva, director of planning, Emergency Response and Spill Prevention at DEEP.

Two years after first becoming known in the state as a health and environmental hazard, fire-fighting foam containing PFAS is now on the way.

“A lot of science and research has looked at where we all are today to realize that we really need to take proactive steps to prevent spills,” said Duva.

Diane Duva, director of planning for DEEP’s Emergency Response and Spill Prevention Department, said several state agencies are in the process of removing 30,000 to 40,000 gallons of the potentially harmful foam from 170 Connecticut cities.

The trigger for the take-back program was the accidental release of PFAS-containing foam from the Signature Flight Support Hangar at Bradley International Airport in June 2019. The foam was also used in the fatal B-17 plane crash in Bradley, some of which traveled into the vicinity located Rainbow Brook. Since then, NBC Connecticut Investigates has followed the ramifications, including the contamination of the Farmington River that resulted in a fish recommendation, to the creation of an interagency governor’s task force for PFAS.

PFAS is a group of man-made chemicals that have been used around the world, including the United States, since the 1940s. These chemicals are not broken down and can have negative effects on reproduction, development, the liver, and the kidneys.

“They are used for vapor suppression,” said Jeff Morrissette, the state fire administrator.

Morrissette has set the guidelines for the use of the foam by fire departments since it came into the spotlight. He stopped the use of the foam for training and by October 1st, according to the new state law, all municipal fire brigades must completely stop the foam.

“If you look at the intergenerational impact of foam on firefighters individually, it’s not just those who have been exposed to foam from foam inserts, but also the equipment that firefighters wear every day,” he said.

Clean Harbors is responsible for removing the foam, which is now due to be shipped nearly 600 miles away to a chemical landfill in Ontario.

“Imagine the safest constructed facility that has a clay foundation with a thick poly sheet that captures all of the rainwater, all of the runoff that can come in to contain it,” said David Pannuto of CleanHarbors.

“Let’s get it to a safe, locked place and move on with the safer product,” said Jay Kelly, Bristol Fire Department equipment technician.

Fire technicians like Kelly are now preparing for the next phase of take-back, which includes removing the foam from fire extinguishers and incorporating a new PFAS-free foam alternative.

“It’ll be nice when this is all over, when our trucks have clean products for the guys to use,” said Kelly.

The takeback program does not apply to Connecticut Airport Fire Services, which operate under federal guidelines.

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