Traditional Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), the Class B firefighting foam used to fight aviation and other chemical fires, typically contains PFAS. After AFFF is used in an emergency or training exercise, it can seep into the ground to contaminate local soil and ground water. AFFF that enters the storm drainage system can also lead to contamination of the public water supply when it is sent to the local water treatment plant. (Traditional water treatment processes do not remove PFAS.)
On January 6, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued revised performance specifications for fluorine-free firefighting foams (F3). While these standards do not approve any specific foam formulations, they pave the way for companies to develop new foams that meet the DOD’s requirements. Ultimately, this also sets the stage for the use of PFAS-free firefighting foams in commercial aviation emergencies as well as Part 139 airports that are required to use foams that meet the Navy’s MIL-SPEC.
Since AFFF has a lengthy shelf life, many airport operators have stockpiled legacy AFFF. Unfortunately, PFAS in AFFF isn’t always clearly listed on the material safety data sheets (MSDS). PFOS was a primary compound used in legacy AFFF formulations. After PFOS was phased out, other PFAS were used as a replacement. Therefore, when an MSDS says the product is PFOS free, that does not mean that the product is entirely PFAS free. Pace® can test legacy AFFF and newer film-forming foams to analyze how much, if any, PFAS they contain.
Since PFAS don’t degrade naturally, contamination from an AFFF release that occurred decades ago may still remain. Some states and municipalities require airports to test local matrices, such as soil and groundwater, for PFAS contamination. Other states are voluntarily developing testing plans to get out ahead of future media attention. Pace® can provide environmental testing services for soil, groundwater, surface waters, and more.
In its revised MIL-SPEC, the DOD calls for EPA Draft Method 1633 to be used by DOD-accredited labs to test fire-fighting foams for PFAS. Pace® is participating in the multi-lab validation of this method. Pace® is also accredited by the DOD and offers Draft Method 1633 for both military and non-military projects. In addition, Pace® offers several test methods for environmental testing of matrices such as soil, groundwater, and surface water.
We’re certified/accredited by NELAC, ISO, DOD, DOE, and in every state with a PFAS lab certification program.
For emergencies, our Rapid Response Team can provide defensible results in as little as 24 hours.
We are committed to helping our customers advance their important work through building strong relationships, delivering upon expectations, and providing exceptional customer service.
We can test for PFAS in both solid and aqueous matrices, including potable and non-potable waters, soils, and biota.
We’re on the leading edge of science, working with EPA, DOD, ASTM, and others to develop new methods for analyzing PFAS.