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Use and Potential Impacts of AFFF Containing PFASs at Airports (2017)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction and Purpose

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Purpose." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Use and Potential Impacts of AFFF Containing PFASs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24800.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Purpose." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Use and Potential Impacts of AFFF Containing PFASs at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24800.
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Page 9

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81.1 Understanding the Problem Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been used for extinguishing fires and training firefighters at airports for decades. AFFF formulations most frequently include surfactants of the class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that improve fire knock- down capabilities. The historical use of AFFF is likely to have resulted in the release of PFASs into the environment. Some PFASs exhibit chemical, physical, and toxicological properties that are problematic. These problematic properties include being extremely persistent in the natural environment; potentially presenting human and ecological health risks; bioaccumulating and biomagnifying; and exhibiting physicochemical properties that challenge traditional handling, cleaning, and decontaminating methods. An increase in regulatory attention to PFASs has led to a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape that could impact airports. As a result, airports that have stored and/or used AFFF face operational considerations relative to the existing storage, use, testing, and/or disposal of AFFF containing PFASs. In addition, legacy impacts have the potential to significantly affect capital improvement projects should impacts of PFASs be encountered. 1.2 Project Objectives The overall objective of this research was to develop an easy-to-understand reference document for airport personnel on what is known and not known about PFASs and their use in AFFF at airports and to develop an accompanying screening tool for use by operators of commercial service and general aviation airports of varying sizes to understand, diagnose, and improve management practices for AFFF and PFASs. Specific project objectives were the following: • Understand what airports know about AFFF and PFASs. • Identify what practices have been and are being employed by airports to store, handle, remove, and dispose of AFFF. • Identify current research and knowledge regarding the chemistry, fate and transport, and toxicology of PFASs. • Understand the current regulatory environment related to PFASs. • Identify the currently available AFFF alternatives (including those AFFFs containing PFASs and those not containing PFASs). • Facilitate an airport’s understanding of where AFFF and PFASs may represent an area of potential environmental concern and help prioritize future action. • Evaluate innovative approaches to sampling of PFASs and thereby advancing the state of the practice. • Identify and document advances in remediation technologies in the United States, Canada, and other jurisdictions across the world. C h a p t e r 1 Introduction and Purpose

Introduction and purpose 9 • Identify areas for future research. • Develop a screening tool that could be used to assist airports with the identification of areas of potential environmental concern (APECs) on or near the airport. • Develop an easily understood reference guidance document for airport personnel. 1.3 Report Organization The remainder of this research report is organized into Chapters 2 through 7: • Chapter 2 is a primer on PFASs at airports that discusses the nature of PFASs, including their physical, chemical, biological, and toxicological effects, as well as properties related to their fate and transport in the environment. • Chapter 3 presents the research methodology for ACRP Project 02-60, describing the literature review, airport survey, and outreach to industry and subject matter experts that provides the basis for identifying AFFF management practices discussed in Chapter 4. • Chapter 4 presents suggested best management practices at key AFFF life cycle stages, including procurement, storage, application, and disposal of AFFF that contains PFASs. • Chapter 5 addresses legacy environmental impacts of AFFF containing PFASs, including considerations for sampling, laboratory analysis, risk management, and remediation options for assessing and addressing the impacts of PFASs on the environment. • Chapter 6 presents a screening tool that allows airport representatives to identify potential sources of PFASs at airports (i.e., sources associated with airport operations past or present or activities associated with airport tenants on airport property). • Chapter 7 provides recommendations for further research related to AFFF containing PFASs at airports. A list of abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, and symbols used in this research report and a glossary are also provided. 1.4 How to Use This Document The purpose of this research report and accompanying risk screening tool is to help airport representatives understand the potential implications of the use of AFFF containing PFASs on human health and the environment; provide guidance on identifying, understanding, and mitigating the potential risks associated with AFFF use; identify best management practices for managing AFFF during airport operations; and identify best management practices for addressing legacy environmental impacts. This research report has been developed as a tool to encourage and enable collaboration among key stakeholders involved in management of AFFF procurement, storage, use, and disposal at the airport and the environmental implications of PFASs associated with historical AFFF releases to the environment. Used alone, this research report can serve as a roadmap for airports interested in appropriately managing AFFF and addressing any impacts of PFASs. The report is designed to inform airport personnel about what is known and not known about PFASs and their use in AFFF at airports. By using the accompanying screening tool in conjunction with this report, airport personnel will be better able to integrate best management practices into the AFFF life cycle at their facilities, identify and manage potential risks associated with historical and/or current AFFF use at their site, and prioritize where resources need to be allocated to address concerns regarding AFFF and PFASs.

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 173: Use and Potential Impacts of AFFF Containing PFASs at Airports explores the potential environmental and health impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) typically found in aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs). The report describes methods that can be used to identify areas of potential concern at an airport and ways to implement management and remediation practices.

To help airports identify areas of potential environmental concern, the research team developed the Managing AFFF and PFASs at Airports (MAPA) Screening Tool. The MAPA Screening Tool is available in two versions: one for running in Microsoft Excel 2010 and the other, a version called the compatibility version, that can be run in Microsoft Excel 97 to 2003, or 2007.

Disclaimer - This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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