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  • 1.  treatment of AFFF

    Posted 02-24-2017 10:00 AM
    A story that has resurfaced here in Colorado is contamination of groundwater from firefighting foam containing perfluorinated chemicals.  This has apparently occurred at bases and airports throughout the US, according to a 2016 study published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters.  Similar surfactant chemicals are in waterproof packaging, clothing, etc.  The EPA recently established a health advisory of 70 ppt based on research pointing to effects on liver, thyroid, and some cancers as well as an estimated half-life in the body of 2.3 years.  Some states such as Vermont have established drinking water limits lower than the EPA's advisory.  The Air Force plans to spend $2B on cleanup and $900K on research of treatment technologies.  For now it appears the approach will be a combination of carbon filtration and reverse osmosis.

    I am interested to see how treatment technology will evolve to deal with these compounds, which I imagine could otherwise eventually leach from spent media.  Previously, some possibilities were developing from experiments in this area (see CSU research).

    Steven Splitek, P.E., PMP, ENV SP
    Denver, CO

  • 2.  RE: treatment of AFFF

    Posted 03-14-2017 01:39 PM
    Hello Steven - EWRI has several committee that you might want to check in with on this topic.

    Groundwater Council

    Groundwater Quality Committee

    Environmental Health & Water Quality Committee

    Hazardous, Toxic and Radioactive Waste Engineering Committee

    Water, Wastewater & Stormwater Council

    Also, check EWRI/ASCE's journals.  The authors of this paper could be good contacts - http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000936.

    Brian Parsons M.ASCE
    Eng. Director
    Reston VA
    (703) 295-6071

  • 3.  RE: treatment of AFFF

    Posted 04-18-2017 04:36 PM
    Endocrine disruption from AFFF and other highly fluorinated chemicals is beginning to be realized as a huge problem, and the best of luck to you.  PFOS, historically a dispersant used in AFFF, is a Persistent Organic Pollutant as well.

    Behaviors from and effects of endocrine disruption are, for whatever reason, becoming more "acceptable" and resources diverted from recognition and cleanup of the root cause to adaptation to the effects.  Something the Civil Engineering community should be aware of.

    Be careful out there!

    Stephen Hemphill P.E., M.ASCE
    Rio Rancho NM

  • 4.  RE: treatment of AFFF

    Posted 04-20-2017 10:27 AM
    Dear sir

    The use of FFFs for fire fighting is of course a problem. My humble submission is to create test fields for fire fighting drill which are impermeable and will not contaminate the ground water/ water bodies. The foam can be recovered and processed after the actual drill, and can be treated separately. Soap foams can also be used for drills which are less intensity pollutants. Together we will find a solution for this problem. 


    Danish Ahmed
    Collaborate ASCE

    Danish Ahmed
    NIT Srinagar