Press Release

Press Release Commonwealth Begins Program to Remove Legacy Firefighting Foams from Fire Department Stockpiles

New Initiative Targets Old Foam That Could Impact Environment, Public Health
For immediate release:
5/23/2018
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for Commonwealth Begins Program to Remove Legacy Firefighting Foams from Fire Department Stockpiles

Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs

BOSTON BOSTON – In a continued effort to protect the environment and the public health, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (MassDFS), today announced  a take-back program to assist fire departments in the proper disposal of legacy firefighting foams that could impact water resources.

The pre-2003 versions of the foam use certain perfluorinated compounds, which are designated as an emerging contaminant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These compounds have contaminated some groundwater and drinking water sources across the country. The take-back program will ensure that these foams are removed from current stockpiles and neutralized.

“The Baker-Polito Administration, through MassDEP, has made funding available to assist local fire departments in identifying these foams in their stockpiles and for MassDEP to dispose of them,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “We strongly recommend that fire departments take advantage of this program.”

“We appreciate the efforts of MassDEP to help local fire departments safely remove any stockpiles of this hazardous pre-2003 firefighting foam,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “It is important to protect the environment and the health and safety of the public and firefighters from any exposure or potential release.”

Any AFFF manufactured before 2003 is eligible under the take-back program. MassDEP and MassDFS are asking all fire departments to conduct a visual inventory of their foam stockpiles and notify the agencies by Friday, June 15 if they have any of the legacy foam. A state-sponsored contractor will then be assigned to handle the disposal of the suspect foam.

Following these surveys, fire departments can participate in the program by calling MassDEP Emergency Response Coordinator Nick Child at 617-574-6847 or via his e-mail contact.

Manufacturers stopped making the suspect foams in 2002, and they have since developed more fluorine-stable foams and fluorine-free AFFF that have less of an impact on the environment. MassDEP is also working with the Massachusetts Office of Technology Assessment to help fire departments identify foam alternatives to utilize.

For more information on perfluorinated substances, turn here.

 

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Media Contact for Commonwealth Begins Program to Remove Legacy Firefighting Foams from Fire Department Stockpiles

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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