MLF - Military Logistics

USAF replaces AFFF with environmentally friendly foam

26th June 2018 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The US Air Force has replaced the legacy Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in fire vehicles and stockpiles across the service with a new environmentally responsible perfluorooctane sulfonate free firefighting foam.

The air force awarded a $6.2 million contract to ICL Performance Products in August 2016 for the supply of 418,000 gallons of Phos-Chek 3%. The transition will reduce the risk of mission-related contamination to drinking water sources.

The legacy AFFF contained Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), two perfluorinated compounds that persist in the environment and may be a potential health concern. To protect the environment further, the air force limits the use of AFFF to emergency responses, treats all releases as hazardous spills and takes immediate action to ensure containment and removal.

In total, 176 bases have been transitioned to the new firefighting foam. The service also began retrofitting fire vehicles with an eco-logic system which enable fire protection testing without AFFF discharges earlier in 2018. The initiative – which includes retrofitting approximately 850 fire trucks – is expected to be finished by December 2018.

The air force is also replacing AFFF contained in aircraft hangar fire protection systems in conjunction with hangar renovations. Unlike mobile fire trucks, AFFF in hangars is contained in a stationary location — a more controlled environment. The projects are expected to be finished by the end of 2018.

The new foam provides essential burn-back resistance, protection against vapour release and rapidly extinguishes fire.

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