The Air Force last month completed its shift from legacy aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) — the source of widespread concern about the safety of drinking water supplies in communities outside more than 100 active and closed installations — in fire vehicles and stockpiles across the service to a more environmentally responsible firefighting agent. Officials marked the completion of the Air Force’s move to replace legacy foam following a changeover on June 14 at King Salmon Air Force Station, Alaska. In total, 176 bases transitioned to the new firefighting foam.
The step marks an important milestone for the Air Force as its effort to identify and respond to past AFFF releases continues, reports the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center. Legacy AFFF contains PFOS and PFOA, two kinds of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that persist in the environment and the human body. The new foam is PFOS free, only contains trace amounts of PFOA and meets the military specifications for firefighting.
To further protect the environment, the Air Force limits the use of the new foam to emergency responses, treats all releases as hazardous spills and takes immediate action to ensure containment and removal. In addition, the Air Force will replace AFFF contained in aircraft hangar fire protection systems in conjunction with hangar renovations. Those projects are expected to be finished by the end of 2018.
Air Force photo by Shannon Carabajal