Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) collection & disposal program

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Want to participate?

Fire departments and other first responders can fill out a survey to express interest in participating in this program. We expect this program to launch in 2023.

We are working to implement a program to help fire departments and other first responders in Washington state collect, remove, and dispose of stockpiles of AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) at no cost to them.

As of 2018, Washington passed a law that restricts AFFF. AFFF is used to fight liquid-based fires, but AFFF is highly concerning because it:

What is the purpose of this program?

In 2018, the Toxics in Firefighting law was passed. This law restricts AFFF from being manufactured, sold, or used for fire training in Washington state. This leaves fire departments and other first responders with stockpiles of AFFF stored on-site they may not be able to use.

This program is designed to:

  • Collect stockpiles of AFFF stored on-site.
  • Provide a safe disposal option at no cost to those who participate.

What are the benefits of participating in this program?

We will pay for costs associated with the program, such as pickup, transport, and disposal. We will also dispose of the foam in a manner that minimizes impacts to the environment and public health.

However, we cannot endorse specific replacements or pay for the costs of new foam.

Who can participate in the program?

Any fire department or first responder that has AFFF on-site may participate. This includes:

  • Municipal fire departments.
  • Fire districts.
  • Fire authorities.
  • Port authority fire departments.
  • Fire training facilities.

What are the proposed disposal options?

We are in the process of determining the best disposal option. Here are the options under consideration:

  • Incineration.
  • Landfill.
  • Deep well injection.
  • Supercritical water oxidation.
  • Collecting and holding until newer technologies are available.
  • Leaving in place until newer technologies are available.

If you would like to comment on any issues you want us to address as we weigh these options, please email Sean Smith at sean.smith@ecy.wa.gov. We will use your feedback to help write a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

What is an EIS?

An environmental impact statement (EIS) is a government document that outlines the impact of a proposed project on its surrounding environment. Environmental impact statements are meant to inform the work and decisions of policymakers and community leaders.

When will the program start?

Sometime in 2023. In order to launch, we plan to:

  • Make the draft EIS available for public comment by Winter 2023.
  • Make a decision on a disposal program by Spring or Summer 2023.
  • Launch the program once the EIS is finalized.

Frequently asked questions