BOSTON — State officials are asking local fire departments to take inventory of any stockpiles of toxic firefighting foam that might still be in their possession.
A funded take-back program will send a contractor to dispose of any pre-2003 foam which contain perfluorinated compounds. The compounds, known as PFOA and PFOS, have contaminated groundwater and drinking water sources across the country.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services to run the program. Fire departments are urged to check in by June 15, and may call Nick Child at (617) 574-6847.
“We strongly recommend that fire departments take advantage of this program,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg.
Locally, Westfield has sued 3M, Chemguard, and Tyco — manufacturers of firefighting foam linked to groundwater contamination. The city also filed a Notice of Tort Claim against the United States Air Force, a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit.
The foam was used at the Barnes Air National Guard Base and the Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport for firefighter training.
PFOS and PFOA exposure “could result in health effects including, but not limited to, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants, liver effects, immune effects and thyroid effects,” according to the city’s complaint in U.S. District Court.
In Westfield, tests showed the emerging contaminants in city wells. Westfield is struggling with how to pay for the cleanup as the City Council considers a $13 million bond request from Mayor Brian P. Sullivan.
Manufacturers stopped making the suspect foams in 2002. Now they make “more fluorine-stable and fluorine-free” firefighting foams with less impact, according to MassDEP.
*Original article online at http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/05/massdep_to_take_back_toxic_fir.html