PFAS Information for MunicipalitiesDEEP recognizes that municipalities will face capacity and financial challenges with respect to PFAS. To assist towns, DEEP and the Department of Public Health (DPH) developed guidance, which contains PFAS information most pertinent to municipalities and links to available resources:
- PFAS Information Handout for Municipalities (March 2023)
In addition, the following actions are requirements and recommendations that municipalities can take to reduce local PFAS risk:
Report any PFAS releases immediately! (Required by RCSA Sec. 22a-450-2(b)(1)(K))
Stop using PFAS-containing Class B firefighting foam (Required by CGS Section 22a-903a)
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and other PFAS-containing firefighting foams should never be discharged to the ground, storm drain, surface water, sanitary sewer or septic system. Any such releases must be immediately reported to DEEP. Releases can be reported to DEEP's Emergency Response Unit 24 hours a day at 866-DEP-SPIL (866-337-7745) or 860-424-3338.
DEEP’s Release Reporting Regulations state that a release of any quantity of liquid containing any PFAS in any amount MUST be reported to DEEP [RCSA Sec. 22a-450-2(b)(1)(K)]. Such releases include:
- any release of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, including AFFF
- any release of PFAS-free foam (F3) from fire apparatus that currently or previously contained any PFAS-containing firefighting foam
- any release of PFAS-free foam (F3) from a fixed building or hangar fire suppression system that currently or previously contained any PFAS-containing firefighting foam.
Common labels for these foams are AFFF, AR-AFFF, FFFP, AR-FFFP, FP and FPAR. Instead, municipalities should use a PFAS-free foam replacement. Foams certified by GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals are suitable for use in Connecticut.
As noted above, if AFFF is used by fire services to respond to a life-saving incident or otherwise inadvertently discharged, it must be reported to DEEP Emergency Dispatch at 860-424-3338. In addition, use of new fluorine-free foam (F3) from apparatus that previously held AFFF must also be reported to DEEP, due to PFAS cross-contamination issues.
Funding for the state’s AFFF Take-Back Program for municipal PFAS-containing firefighting foam was recently replenished. DEEP and DESPP are developing a plan to allocate funding for municipal reimbursement. Eligible expenses may including the collection and disposal of original AFFF concentrate containers, AFFF drained from municipal apparatus and fire boats, rinse water associated with apparatus decontamination, and PFAS-containing fire extinguishers or “Pro/pak” portable foam systems are also eligible for disposal reimbursement. Information will be shared with municipalities, as soon as the reimbursement program details are finalized.
In preparation for disposal, secure any remaining containers of PFAS-containing foam or concentrate, as well as fire extinguishers and “Pro/paks” that contain PFAS foam. Products should remain in their original containers. (Original foam concentrate containers are contaminated with PFAS and may not be disposed of as regular municipal waste.) PFAS-containing foam should be drained from municipal fire apparatus and stored for future pick up and disposal as well. Rinse water associated with apparatus decontamination should also be collected and safely stored for future disposal.
- CT PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam Ban
- AFFF Take-Back Program Information
- Guidance for Draining and Rinsing AFFF from Onboard Systems
Identify Historic PFAS Release Areas
Towns can improve their understanding of PFAS contamination risk by developing an inventory of historic PFAS release areas. Information regarding the following locations in particular will help to determine where there is potential for soil, groundwater and/or surface water contamination in your town:
- Former fire training areas (locations were firefighting foam was sprayed in the past)
- Former fire house locations
- Certain airports and heliports
- Certain military facilities and training locations
- Fields where biosolids-based fertilizers are known to have been applied
- Former sites of industrial operations associated with PFAS use or manufacture
- Old landfills and historic dumping locations
In the unfortunate event that PFAS is detected in drinking water in town, the above information may also provide valuable clues as to the source(s) and extent of the contamination.
Municipalities may directly initiate PFAS sampling of drinking water. Given the higher potential for PFAS releases in these locations, DEEP recommends prioritizing testing of wells located near fire departments, current and former fire training areas, and landfills. PFAS sampling is complicated and samples can be easily contaminated if not properly collected and handled. Therefore DEEP recommends hiring an environmental professional experienced with PFAS sampling in order to insure good data quality. In order for the data to be considered by DEEP or DPH, drinking water analyses must be done at a CT DPH Certified Laboratories.
DEEP has limited funding to test private wells in vulnerable communities located near high-risk, suspected PFAS sources. If PFAS are detected in a private well at levels that exceed one or more of Connecticut's Drinking Water Action Levels, DEEP may also be able to provide bottled water and/or treatment system installation support. DEEP will reach out to municipalities when DEEP-led private well testing is planned.
It is recommended that municipalities contact DEEP at DEEP.PFAS@ct.gov for guidance prior to testing additional groundwater and/or soil for PFAS.
To reduce the risk of PFAS exposure to residents and employees of the municipality, DEEP recommends procuring PFAS-free cleaning products, floor cleaners and waxes, and food service ware. Research has shown that cleaning products and, in particular, floor waxes, may contain PFAS. Similarly, avoiding PFAS in food service ware will potentially help to reduce PFAS exposure through food consumption. Municipalities should also avoid including paper products and 'compostable' products (e.g., compostable food service ware) in school or municipal compost, unless these products have been confirmed by the manufacturer and an independent third-party to be PFAS-free.
In response to the Connecticut PFAS Action Plan, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was charged with issuing new state contracts that specifically ban PFAS. Consequently, statewide contracts have been issued banning PFAS and related chemicals in in 1) food service products and 2) cleaning chemicals, janitorial supplies and disposable liners. An additional contract was issued to support the purchase of PFAS-free fire fighting foams (i.e., National Foam Universal F3 Green). These contracts are mandatory for State Agencies and are also available for use by all political subdivisions of the state (i.e., municipalities.)
- PFAS-Free Food Service Ware
- PFAS in Consumer Products
- Preventing PFAS-Contamination in School Food Waste Composting Programs
Questions regarding PFAS can be emailed to DEEP.PFAS@ct.gov.
- DEEP PFAS Homepage
- Reducing and Preventing Releases of PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam
- Minimizing Environmental Exposure to PFAS
- Preventing PFAS Pollution by Minimizing Future PFAS Releases
Content last updated October 7, 2023