Read the full article by Jordan Travis (Record Eagle)
“TRAVERSE CITY — Firefighters twice released foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances at Cherry Capital Airport, and Traverse City will pay for the cleanup that followed.
Northern A-1 Environmental Services cleaned up both releases and Elmer’s Crane and Dozer responded to the first, and on Monday city commissioners will vote to pay the total bill of $40,351.16. City manager Marty Colburn said it’s the city’s responsibility to pay, as the releases involved Traverse City firefighters — the department serves the airport under contract.
The first happened Nov. 28 during training with an airport crash-fire truck, according to a memo from Traverse City Fire Department Chief Jim Tuller. A firefighter accidentally pushed the foam system switch, which is next to the water system switch, causing a foam-and-water solution to release onto the airfield ground, Tuller wrote — he confirmed Friday the foam contained PFAS.
More foam came from the same truck on Dec. 5 while checking the truck, Tuller wrote. A firefighter saw foam in the water while testing the truck’s water systems and it flowed onto pavement.
Colburn said the spills affected small areas, and were reported to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy as required by law.
‘It’s an unfortunate incident but when we train to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios, there’s always some level of risk,’ he said.
Tuller’s office and airport operations both investigated the second incident, according to the memo. The fire chief posited the second release was because of an ‘incomplete and improper’ flushing of the foam discharge system, while airport operations blamed operator error.
More than $5,000 of the cost of the second cleanup is in dispute, but Tuller in his memo recommended paying the contractors and resolving it later…”