ILTA Represented at Stakeholder Conference on PFAS Legislation
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Michael Stroud
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ILTA Represented at Stakeholder Conference on PFAS Legislation

On April 17, ILTA attended a conference convened by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), International Association of Fire Fighters, and the United States Chamber of Commerce to discuss aqueous film forming foams (AFFF), commonly referred to as PFAS-based firefighting foams. Additional stakeholders in attendance included the firefighting communities, airports, petrochemical industries, farming stakeholders, chemical producers, and liquid storage and terminaling industry.

DoD shared its perspective on compliance with the AFFF transition, indicating extensions would be needed. Specifically, DoD said the military was unlikely to meet the target transition dates and would likely exercise two of the 1-year extensions under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The primary reason for anticipating the needed extensions is the various Air Force facilities and vehicles and officials indicated that foam producers’ supplies are of concern, too, given the massive quantity needed by DoD to address foam needs for all DoD facilities.

There was also significant discussion of how DoD is disposing of the contaminated water from current PFAS foam use. DoD indicated that it is “solidifying” the contaminated water in concrete and then disposing of the “solidified water”. DoD stated it is wanting EPA to issue standards for safe disposal of PFAS contaminated water.

With respect to replacement products, DoD said it is focusing on the fluorine-free foams (F3’s) as replacements. DoD also indicated that it is seeking to better comprehend how to address DoD’s firefighting assets, given that complete replacement of these assets is cost prohibitive.

Likewise, the Firefighting communities noted that they were trying to best assess what to do with contaminated equipment and how to address replacements, but The IAFF and other fire community stakeholders argued that the transition to AFFF should not wait. They continued urging stakeholders in attendance to obtain replacement foam products. Overall, the discussion also concluded with several thought-provoking questions, such as are the F3’s actually better and safer products? Will there be likely revisions to the current military specifications that will have cascading impacts on other industries that rely on that standard?

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