In the news lately firefighting foam has been blamed for multiple instances of polluting various water sources around the US. San Jose, Newburgh, and Hartford are just to name a few. False discharges and unmonitored testing has led to a variety of environmental and health concerns. Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) are the chemicals that can cause issues. The EPA has issued health advisories around ground or drinking water contamination.
Firefighting foam is a necessary tool in helping to prevent large-scale fires in airports, hangers and anywhere with flammable liquids. It is by far the best method to extinguish these massive blazes.
Designing a foam fire protection system is critical and engineers, contractors and AHJs must understand the potential long term factors. Foam systems are also required to be inspected, tested and maintained at various frequencies. Some times this means releasing foam (containing PFOS and PFOA) to the outside environment. There are variety of ways to combat these huge public issues including some new equipment on the market to assist with ITM.