May 09, 2022

DoD Temporarily Halts the Burning of PFAS

This decision will stand until the DoD formally issues a guidance for how to dispose of the substances

firefighting foam
Photo 95166467 © Fedecandoniphoto | Dreamstime.com

The Defense Department is temporarily halting the burning of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

This decision will stand until the DoD formally issues a guidance for how to dispose of the substances, according to the memo. The halt officially began Apr. 26, 2022. According to the memo, DoD is in the final states of issuing the guidance.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment Paul Cramer said in the memo that the military would issue a temporary prohibition on incineration of PFAS.

Additionally, there is a recent report in which the DOD identified six potential options for phasing out the use of PFAS-containing Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). The report is part of the DOD’s efforts to comply with a Congressional deadline of Oct. 1, 2024 to phase out all PFAS-containing AFFF, according to The National Law Review. 

This is part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a requirement that by Oct, 2023, that the DOD will issue a military specification for firefighting foam that does not contain PFAS.

The memo states: “Because DoD has not yet finalized the guidance required…DoD must immediately discontinue contracting activities for the incineration of any PFAS material.”

The Hill reported that The Air Force said in 2017 that burning these chemicals as a means for disposing of them could produce “environmentally unsatisfactory” byproducts.

Additionally, The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 requires the department to halt the incineration of PFAS chemicals until it implements clear guidance on destruction and disposal.

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