Read the full article by Collin Atwood (The Day)
“Multiple fire stations in Connecticut still have trucks that contain banned firefighting foam in their tanks that can’t be used because of its toxicity, mostly due to a lack of funding to remove the poisonous substance.
According to legislation signed into law in July 2021, firefighting foam and other materials containing perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or ‘forever chemicals,’ were banned in Connecticut after October 2021.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stated that the ban would occur in phases. The ban on the use of PFAS in food packaging goes into effect by the end of 2023 and specifically states that the chemicals used to replace PFAS in the packaging must be less hazardous.
The ban came two years after the chemicals made their way into the Farmington River after a spill at Bradley International Airport in June 2019.
In April elevated levels of the toxin were found in Hockanum River fish, leading the state to issue an advisory warning residents to not consume any caught between Vernon and East Hartford.
To push the cleaning process forward, the state initiated the Aqueous Film-Forming Foam Take-Back Program in April 2021, which was funded by $2 million in state bonds.
DEEP spokesman Will Healey said 258 municipal fire departments in Connecticut have participated in the program so far, resulting in the removal of over 35,000 gallons of containerized foam concentrate.
The foam was disposed of in a secure landfill in Canada, according to DEEP Remediaton Division Assistant Director Ray Frigon.
Frigon said that half of the $2 million was used to remove the aqueous foam already in municipal fire department containers. The other half went to decontaminate regional foam containers in Norwich, Winsted and Willington — three of the eight regional containers in Connecticut that holds AFFF.
In May the state AFFF Take-Back Program released a document saying any remaining funds from the program would be used solely for collecting and disposing of toxic foam that fire departments drained from their trucks into containers.
That left municipalities with the costly bill to clean out their fire truck tanks.
The document gives directions on how fire departments should drain their tanks, rinsing them multiple times with water that exceeds 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
That process only removes 95% of PFAS substances while cleaning agents used by the state removes 99% of the substances.
But using those proprietary-cleaning agents are more expensive than initially anticipated, state officials wrote in the document, ‘and additional funding would be needed to clean the approximately 400 municipal fire apparatus with onboard AFFF systems statewide.'” …