“Airports face big bills to get rid of banned firefighting foam but officials are promising tight monitoring to make sure no one dumps any to avoid the costs.

The system of checks to date, though, has been such that airports say they never knew about a ban on the foams brought in 12 years ago.

‘We’ve been tracking in a general sort of way the experience at airports in Australia but the airports here, to the best of our knowledge, were unaware of the regulatory underpinning affecting this family of [PFAS] chemicals,’ the Airports Association chief executive Kevin Ward said.

That became more obvious towards the end of last year when the EPA [Environmental Protection Authority] was specifically tracking down the material.

‘We haven’t tried to go back and find out who knew what, or who said what to who, we’re more focused on fixing the problem now.’

The problem centres on how to safely get rid of the banned foams.

A copy of the Environmental Protection Authority’s new disposal guidelines has now been leaked to RNZ.

They show the foam must be exported as New Zealand has nowhere that can handle these longlasting, manmade toxic chemicals, which have triggered a nationwide investigation after contaminating soil and water around Defence bases.

On-site checks would be made in case anyone tried to dump or dilute the foam to avoid the high cost of export, the authority said.”

Read the full article by Phil Pennington.