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Firefighting Foam

Illinois PFAS Legislation

May 2021

The Illinois Legislature is currently considering legislation that would place restrictions on firefighting foam containing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  These are considered “forever chemicals” that effectively remain in the ground (including water supplies) without degrading.  PFAS are also present in many other materials acting as a water repellant.

Below is a quick review of Senate Bill 561.  Here is a link to the Bill.  Keep in mind that this bill has not passed the General Assembly or been signed by the Governor as of this date.

This Bill regulates only Class B foam that contains intentionally added PFAS.  The most important thing is this Bill is “nothing in this Act shall prevent or discourage a fire department from responding to and mitigating incidents where a fire, spill, or leak of a known or suspected flammable liquid has occurred or is believed to be imminent.”

Training with foam containing PFAS is generally not allowed (with a few exceptions) after January 1, 2022.  Testing is allowed if certain conditions – including containment, notification and training requirements – are met.

The sale of foam containing PFAS is not allowed after January 1, 2025.  This restriction does not apply to facilities controlled by federal regulations.  After January 1, 2022, a seller of foam containing PFAS to a fire department or district must notify the purchaser that the foam contains PFAS prior to the purchase and certain information about the foam.

After January 1, 2022, any fire department or district using firefighting foam containing PFAS must notify the EPA of the use and provide certain information.  Beginning in 2022, the State Fire Marshal will be conducting a survey of fire departments regarding firefighting foam and require certain information.  OSFM will continue this survey annually. 

Proper disposal of Class B firefighting foam containing PFAS shall not include flushing, draining, or otherwise discharging the Class B firefighting foam into a ditch, waterway, storm drain, or sanitary sewer.   Class B firefighting foam must be properly disposed of within 90 days of the expiration date provided by the manufacturer.

Please remember that this legislation is currently still under consideration and has not been passed by the legislature nor signed by the Governor.  There is a possibility that the details of this legislation may change.  We will attempt to update this information with any changes.

May 4, 2021

PO Box 7, Skokie, IL 60076-0007
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