The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires U.S. airports to utilize aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). As airports prepare to transition away from these legacy foams because of environmental risk factors, it is imperative that existing fire-suppression equipment, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles, and hangar foam-suppression systems be decontaminated prior to the use of fluorine free foam (F3). Airports should consider effective and efficient methodologies for the best approach of decontamination. As this matter continues to evolve, the following items should be considered:
- Current federal, state, and local laws and regulations that relate to the impact of PFAS on the environment,
- Emerging environmental guidance and current industry practices,
- Decontamination methods utilized, with an emphasis on the reduction of the downtime of firefighting vehicles to maintain airport index levels required by the FAA,
- Various types of materials that need decontamination,
- Other operational impacts during the decontamination and transition process from AFFF to F3,
- Minimization and disposal of rinsate and other waste materials during the decontamination process, and
- Decontamination costs.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide for U.S. airport sponsors and stakeholders that have the responsibility of transitioning from using AFFF to F3, including decontaminating PFAS from firefighting vehicles and equipment, and hangar fire-suppression systems. The guide shall include:
- A cost-benefit analysis,
- Scientific data measuring the effectiveness and efficiencies of various PFAS decontamination methods,
- A case study examining non-U.S. airports already decontaminating PFAS from firefighting vehicles and equipment,
- A report that addresses:
- Decontamination methods utilized,
- Impacts on firefighting vehicles and equipment downtime during the decontamination to ensure airports maintain ARFF operational index levels required by the FAA,
- Other operational impacts during the decontamination and transition process from AFFF to F3, and
- Minimization and disposal of rinsate and other waste materials during the decontamination process.
The research plan should include deliverables, for ACRP and panel review and approval, that include at a minimum, a data collection plan.
The research plan should also include checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.
The final deliverables will include: (1) a guide for airport sponsors and stakeholders that have the responsibility of transitioning from using AFFF to F3, including decontaminating PFAS from firefighting vehicles and equipment, and hangar fire-suppression systems; (2) a technical report documenting the entire research effort and findings; and (3) (a) a Summary of Key Findings(b) a Further Recommended Research Memo); and (c) a technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.
STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.