California SB-1044 Firefighting equipment and foam: PFAS chemicals

By November 3, 2020Uncategorized

News – On September 29,2020 Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law with provisions for the manufacturing, distribution, and purchase of firefighting products containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).   Although the currently adopted law only affects manufacturers and firefighters, this change in policy may give insight into future legislation involving the man-made chemical and the environment.  A summary of some of the implications for the adopted law is summarized below:

What is the bill proposing? – A provision of the state bill commencing on January 1, 2022, requires the seller to provide the purchaser a written notice if the transaction for firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) contains PFAS.  The seller and the buyer will need to retain a copy of the written notice and associated sale documentation, for at least 3 years after the transaction date.  Failure to comply with the provision will carry a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the first violation, and not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each subsequent violation.

In addition, a provision where the manufacture, distribution, and use of class B firefighting foam and fixed foam fire suppression systems containing PFAS will be prohibited.  Limited exemptions for this regulation will be available on a case-by-case basis, however, the exemption will require the user not release the suppressant directly to the environment (e.g., soils, waterways, stormwater, and groundwater).  The State Fire Marshal will need to be notified, following the usage or accidental release of PFAS containing foam to the environment.  A violation of the provision will be punishable by a civil penalty of not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation, and not to exceed $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

Distributors of PFAS containing class B firefighting foam will need to recall the product.  The recall will require the manufacturer to document the transportation and storage of the amount of product and storage location.  Moreover, the recalled product will need to be stored until the California Environmental Protection Agency formally identifies a safe disposal technology.

How can we help? – Bowyer Environmental Consulting has performed PFAS testing and has over 30 years of experience working with State regulators on behalf of many sites in the industrial sector, to help clean up the environment while minimizing impact to active businesses

Read more about PFAS here