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Delta County Airport works to mitigate PFAS contamination

The airport said that testing determined there is significant PFAS contamination on the airport property.
FILE. Delta County Airport sign.
FILE. Delta County Airport sign.(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Work to mitigate PFAS contamination is underway at the Delta County Airport.

The Delta County Airport is working with local, state, and federal agencies to identify and mitigate the negative environmental impact of firefighting suppression foam containing PFAS on the airport property.

The FAA requires all commercial service airports to test their firefighting equipment annually, the airport said. Testing includes activating a foam fire suppressant that contains chemical, polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).

As the adverse effects of PFAS became known, the Delta County Airport took steps to protect the ecosystem of the airport property while still meeting FAA Part 139 regulations. Airport management procured a collection cart that allowed the airport to test its foam fire suppressant system without releasing it into the environment.

The airport also received a new Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting truck with built-in suppressant testing equipment. This equipment keeps the Delta County Airport in compliance with the FAA while no longer dispensing PFAS into the environment.

In November 2020, Delta County Airport received a grant from the Michigan Department of Energy Great Lakes and Environment (EGLE) to test the sites where PFAS had previously been released.

“As anticipated, there is significant PFAS contamination on the airport property,” the airport said in a release.

Delta County Arirport says it is one of the first airports in the Upper Peninsula to take steps to assess the environmental impact of FAA required foam testing and take action.

Throughout the country, airports are dealing with PFAS contamination caused by fire suppressant foam.

“The Delta County Airport is committed to keeping the community informed on progress as we understand the extent of the contamination,” the airport said in a release.

About Delta County Airport: Delta County Airport is a county-owned public-use airport located two nautical miles southwest of Escanaba’s southwest business district. The airport’s history dates back to Sept. 20, 1928, when Escanaba’s first airport was dedicated. For additional information, visit the airport’s website.

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