New York state prohibits facility from incinerating PFAS-containing firefighting foams


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation, restricting the incineration of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in cities in the state of a certain size that have a designated environmental justice area.

Restrictions in the new law – signed on 23 November – will focus primarily on the city of Cohoes, a former textile manufacturing hub located 15 miles north of Albany, the state capital. It is the home of the Norlite hazardous waste management facility, which previously had stored, handled and incinerated waste AFFF that contained PFASs. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Norlite facility had previously been authorised to burn AFFF as fuel.

In June, after residents raised concerns of potential PFAS exposure, the DEC ordered the facility to stop incineration of the firefighting foams containing PFASs and initiated a programme to study nearby soil and water samples for potential contamination.

In a statement announcing the signing of the bill (SB 7880B), Governor Cuomo’s office said the law “bolsters the department’s ongoing response to concerns raised by residents in the city of Cohoes to ensure the environment and community are protected after foam containing PFAS was disposed at the Norlite facility”.

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Chemical Watch, 25 November 2020