PFAS Bill Moves Forward

Bipartisan legislation ensures that PFAS-based firefighting foam won’t pollute groundwater when tested and puts tough restrictions on future use of PFAS firefighting foam

DENVER, CO–  Representative Tony Exum’s legislation to protect communities and firefighters from PFAS contamination today passed the House Committee on Energy and Environment by a vote of 11-0.

“PFAS is a dangerous chemical that is harming our communities and firefighters across the state,” said Rep. Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “This bill will help us identify all the facilities that use PFAS substances. It will prevent more of these chemicals from entering our groundwater by placing strict limits on their use and by ensuring that when they are used, they are collected and disposed of property.”

HB20-1119 sets out clear guidelines for when AFFF fire fighting foam (PFAS-based firefighting foam) can be tested, requiring that all AFFF foam be collected and properly disposed of after testing. The bill also requires the state to certify and register every facility that possesses PFAS fire fighting substances and to create standards for the disposal and capture of these substances when they are used so that they do not contaminate groundwater. 

The bill provides the state with information about where PFAS is being used and stored across the state to mitigate and prevent future contamination. To obtain a certification, a facility must prove that it follows the standards for the capture and disposal of PFAS substances. 

Training and testing with AFFF fire fighting foam is one of the leading causes of PFAS contamination and exposure. Elevated levels of PFAS contamination have been found on and near US military bases across the country due to decades of lax testing and training standards for disposing and handling of AFFF fire fighting foam on installations.

While the military and private companies are working to create a fire firefighting foam that does not contain PFAS, AFFF is still the only product available that can efficiently and effectively combat jet fuel and other extreme, or high intensity fires. Airports and other facilities that use jet fuel, or other highly combustible materials, need to test their fire suppression systems, and at times, train with AFFF. The bill ensures that when they do, the AFFF doesn’t end up in the state’s ground water.