$1.4 million approved to dispose of PFAS-containing firefighting foam in Michigan

Foam will be disposed of in Belleville

Firefighters battling flames

DETROIT – The state of Michigan has approved $1.4 million for the collection and disposal of PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).

"PFAS," or "PFAs," is an acronym for perfluoroalkyls, which are a group of man-made chemicals that are not found naturally in the environment, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

That foam is currently being held in inventory by fire departments and commercial airports across the state.

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The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy procurement office awarded US.. Ecology of Livonia a seven-month, $1,441,671 contract to collect and safely dispose of more than 30,000 gallons of Class B AFFF.

"We believe this is the largest collection and disposal effort yet among the handful of states that are taking action to prevent future contamination from Class B AFFF," said The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team executive director Steve Sliver. "This product has been responsible for contaminating drinking water around hundreds of U.S. Air Force bases and commercial airports across the country and Michigan calls on the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Department of Defense and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to take more action on this growing environmental and public health threat."

The AFFF was identified through a 2018 MPART initiative to survey and educate fire departments through Michigan on how to use and clean up PFAS-containing firefighting foam.

There were 326 fire departments identified with Class B AFFF in their inventories out of the 762 that were surveyed.

The Class B AFFF liquid that is collected from fire departments in Michigan will be transported to a hazardous waste facility in Belleville, where it will be solidified and disposed of in the landfill.

The landfill contains a three-layer liner, leachate collection system and activated carbon filtration in an effort to provide additional containment, according to a news release.

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.