REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — New technology is helping to destroy tons of AFFF, which is a firefighting foam that contains a toxic chemical called PFAS. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is traveling around the state for the AFFF Takeback program, collecting firefighting foam from different fire stations

  • Battelle and Revive Environmental created technology called the PFAS Annihilator; it destroys both the foam and the PFAS found inside the foam

  • The PFAS Annihilator is the first of its kind in the nation

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency made a stop in Franklin County, hosting its second of several AFFF takeback programs all across the state, all with the goal of getting rid of aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF for short.

“Getting it off the fire department shelves, being able to destroy it with the help of Battelle and Revive is really exciting,” said Anne Vogel, the director of the Ohio Environment Protection Agency.

For years, fire departments across the country have used the foam, but it contains the toxic chemical PFAS. So from here, the Columbus-based company Revive Environmental will take the AFFF to its brand new PFAS annihilator, which destroys the toxic chemical by breaking it down into water and salt.

“I think it's the first step in a nationwide journey of how to responsibly destroy confidently AFFF firefighting foam for communities,” said David Trueba, the president and CEO of Revive Environmental. 

Firefighters stopped using AFFF years ago. Two years ago, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning the use of AFFF during firefighter training. So most, if not all, AFFF has been replaced.

“The fire departments have already replaced it with, they're either not using foam at all or they've replaced it with foam that doesn't contain the PFAS material. So what we're doing is disposing of it at no cost to them,” said Vogel. 

Destroying AFFF not only helps the environment but helps keep firefighters safe too.

“It also makes the environment safer for firefighters. They won't have to use it. There are new, new foam substitutes that make this operation a lot safer, that aren't carcinogenic, and they're much easier to use,” said Kevin Reardon, the Ohio state fire marshal.

The Ohio EPA reports 11 fire departments turned in more than 2,300 gallons of AFFF during the event. This week’s event is the second in a series happening all across the state. From June 10 through June 18, there will be similar events in southwest, northeast and southeast Ohio. The first one of these took place in Bowling Green earlier this month.