Cleaning AFFF Fire Suppression Equipment with the PerfluorAd® System

TRS employee Greg Knight (far right) checks the status of the PerfluorAd® system at a fire station training site in New England in September 2021.

Airports, municipalities, industrial facilities, the Department of Defense and others have made enormous investments in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) fire suppression systems. As these foams contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), using the fire suppression equipment can result in contaminating soil and groundwater.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many state regulatory agencies promulgate PFAS regulations, there is increasing interest in replacing AFFF with fluorine-free foams. While purchasing new foam delivery systems is an option, doing so can be prohibitively expensive. Numerous studies have shown that cleaning out the systems with a triple water rinse has been inadequate in reducing PFAS concentrations to acceptable levels, while also generating large volumes of PFAS-impacted waste, which requires disposal or treatment.

Developed at Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a leading German research institute, the PerfluorAd® system is an ideal technology for cleaning out fire suppression systems, including trucks, storage vessels, hoses and piping. While reducing PFAS concentrations by more than 99%, costs are generally less than a tenth of replacing those systems and components. Further, the method generates little to no waste. TRS Group is the exclusive licensee of the PerfluorAd® system in North America.

PerfluorAd is a plant based, biodegradable, oleic acid that forms an ionic bond with PFAS to form particles or flocs, removed by filtration. PerfluorAd works exceedingly well at elevated PFAS concentrations in low flow water systems, removing up to 99.9% of anionic PFAS. Significantly, it is unaffected by the presence of dissolved organic carbon.

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