WATKINS-In August 2019, Colorado Aeronautical Board, which oversees Colorado Department of Transportations Division of Aeronautics (CAB) approved $400,000 in State Aviation funding to assist Federal Aviation Administration-certified commercial service airports in Colorado with equipment acquisitions to minimize the environmental impacts of aircraft firefighting foam containing toxic chemical.polyfluoroalkylSubstances (PFAS).
This innovative program, which is only the second of its kind in the country, was created in collaboration with airports and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This effort is in response to a growing environmental concern regarding PFAS chemicals. These chemicals have been found to pose a risk to drinking water supplies. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR), Part 139 requires airports to use PFAS-based foam. They also have to annually test, certify and certify aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment. The Colorado Division of Aeronautics provided 100% financing for the purchase of specialized testing equipment and containment equipment to enable FAA-compliant foam testing without the need to conduct regular foam discharges.
This statewide initiative was completed in September 2021 with all eligible Colorado airports having purchased and deployed foam testing equipment.(Photo below, foam testing cart at Telluride Regional Airport.. Twelve eligible airports participated in this program. Denver International Airport was not eligible because it already had the equipment. Colorado Springs Airport is where the U.S. Air Force provides aircraft rescue and firefighting services.
Colorado Division of Aeronautics and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have formed a strong partnership to support CDPHEs efforts at mitigating PFAS chemicals statewide. Aeronautics Division Director David Ulane said that the CAB and Aeronautics Division are proud of supporting CDPHEs efforts to mitigate PFAS chemicals and assisting Colorado’s airports in taking proactive action to protect our environment and local communities.
Kenneth Maenpa stated that he was the Chair of the Colorado Aeronautical Board and the Telluride Regional Airport Manager (TEX). I am pleased that TEX participated in the Division’s effort to eliminate the need to release harmful PFAS agent into the environment while complying with FAA testing requirements. This equipment is a marvellous tool to ensure that our aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment meet FAA standards, while also protecting our environment.
To end the chain of toxic chemical exposure, it is essential to prevent further contamination. We applaud Colorado Division of Aeronautics, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, for implementing this innovative solution to allow our airports to meet federal regulations faster and protect our environment and communities from further harm from long-term chemical exposure.
The Colorado Division of Aeronautics has this mission:Colorado’s multi-modal transportation system can be supported by advocacy, investment, collaboration, and advocacy.
CDPHE’s mission is to improve Colorado’s health and protect the places we live, work, learn, and play.
More information is available atColorado-Aeronautics.org
Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, (ARFF), foam testing cart shown in front the Telluride Regional Airports ARFF Truck.