States Continue to Implement Take-Back Programs for Aqueous Film Forming Foam

 This summer, Indiana joins a handful of states that have implemented “take-back” programs to collect and dispose of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) containing per- and polyfuoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

 AFFF is a resilient foam generally designed to combat high-hazard fires. There are two types of AFFF: Class A and Class B. Whereas Class A foams are typically used to contain wildfires and structural fires, Class B foams extinguish flammable liquids and gases (e.g., fuel, petroleum products, solvents, and alcohols). The combination of foaming agents with fluorinated surfactants usually creates AFFF.

AFFF has been used at military bases, and other locations with significant flammable liquid hazards, around the country for decades to put out emergency and training fires. Consequently, the PFAS-containing AFFF can migrate off site in groundwater and subsequently contaminate adjacent public drinking water supply systems.

Due to the toxicological properties of some AFFF, several states, (e.g., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, etc.) have implemented take-back programs where legacy AFFF containing PFAS is typically collected at various fire stations and subsequently properly disposed of. Other states (e.g., New Hampshire and Washington) anticipate finalizing their take-back programs by 2023.