The National Academies

ACRP 02-60 [Final]

Use and Potential Impacts of AFFF Containing Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) at Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $299,995
Research Agency: Dillon Consulting Limited
Principal Investigator: Andrew Thalheimer
Effective Date: 7/29/2015
Completion Date: 10/28/2016
Comments: Results published in ACRP Research Report 173

Aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) have been used for extinguishing fires and firefighter training at airports for decades. The use of AFFF results in the release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) into the environment. Some PFASs are known to be persistent in the natural environment and pose potential human and ecological health risks. Governmental agencies are moving toward the regulation of some of these chemicals, which could impact airports. Research is therefore needed to help airports identify potential areas impacted by AFFF use and minimize further potential impacts from future actions.
The objective of this research is to develop a reference document geared for airport laypersons on what is currently known and not known about PFASs and their use in AFFF at airports. The reference document should include, at a minimum:
  • A primer section on PFASs at airports that provides:
    • An overview of their chemistry, nomenclature, and properties,
    • An abbreviated history of their development and applications,
    • A summary of environmental and toxicological concerns,
    • An overview of the U.S. and international regulatory environment,
    • A brief history of AFFF use at domestic and international civil airports,
    • A brief history and description of practices of AFFF use at domestic and international military facilities and non-airport facilities (e.g., refinery, chemical storage facility);
  • A survey of historical and current practice regarding the procurement, storage, use, removal, and disposal of AFFF at U.S. and Canadian civil airports;
  • Airport guidance for the procurement, storage, use, removal, and disposal of AFFF that contain PFASs and equipment decontamination;
  • Assessment of alternative AFFF that do not contain PFASs;
  • A screening tool (e.g., flow chart, matrix, decision tree) to determine potential areas of concern on or near an airport, including, but not limited to:
    • Historical and current onsite use, including training, emergency responses, and accidental releases,
    • Residual PFASs at sites previously remediated for other pollutants (e.g., fuels and solvents), and
    • Contributions from offsite sources;
  • Considerations for sampling and analysis for PFASs assessments;
  • Overview of remediation options and challenges;
  • Glossary and acronym list; and
  • Recommendations for further research related to AFFF containing PFASs at airports.

Research is complete.  Results are published in ACRP Research Report 173.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=3833