AirTAP forum summary explores challenges and mitigation of ‘forever chemicals’

Firefighters spraying a plane on a runway
Photo: Shutterstock

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals, often called “forever chemicals” because of how slowly they break down, have been attracting attention as their health and environmental risks are becoming better known.

To prevent and clean up PFAS discharges, regulatory agencies have been instituting policies that prioritize PFAS mitigation and require accountability from facilities—including airports—that use the chemicals. But removing PFAS foams from airports, where they’re used to fight petroleum-based fires, and monitoring for contamination are logistically and financially difficult.

To address these challenges, a forum held April 5 in Rochester, Minnesota, gathered environmental experts, state and federal regulatory officials, and airport managers to discuss how best to transition away from PFAS. The event was sponsored by the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics and administered by the Airport Technical Assistance Program (AirTAP), housed at CTS, in partnership with Minnesota’s Local Air Service Action Committee.

A summary report of the event—PFAS Forum: Cleanup and Upcoming Regulations—gives an overview of the chemicals and the risks they pose, discusses potential FAA action, presents case studies of airport communities dealing with cleanup and mitigation, and provides links to further information.

Download the report for free on the AirTAP website.


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Michael McCarthy