Governor Holcomb launches foam collection plan to protect firefighters and the environment

The initiative was launched Wednesday at an event in Greensburg.

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced the next steps for a new program to collect and dispose of hazardous fire-fighting foams that contain PFAS, a known contaminant.

“Indiana chose to be a leader in this PFAS foam program because, frankly, fighting fires is hard enough without having to worry about these dangerous chemicals,” Governor Holcomb said. . “We hope more departments will sign up so we can do everything we can to protect Indiana’s firefighters.”

Approximately 200 fire departments have already signed up to participate and have identified approximately 50,000 gallons of foam that will be safely disposed of at no cost to the department.

Statewide fire departments can enroll in this free program by visiting the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) website at DHS.IN.GOV. The program is a partnership between IDHS and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

The Indiana Class-B Foam Collection Initiative makes Indiana one of the few states in the nation to create a PFAS foam removal program. This program allows the state to provide a free pick-up and environmentally friendly disposal service, saving fire departments thousands of dollars in disposal costs while protecting Hoosiers and Indiana environment.

The initiative was kicked off Wednesday by Governor Holcomb, State Fire Marshal Joel Thacker and IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess at a launch event with fire departments from across the state, held at the Greensburg Fire Department in Decatur County.

PFAS are widely used, long-lived chemicals whose components break down very slowly over time. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment. . Prolonged exposure to PFAS chemicals has been linked to four of the eight most common types of cancer among firefighters: testicular, prostate, mesothelioma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In 2020, Indiana law banned the use of PFAS foam for training purposes.

“This collection program is an opportunity for the state to honor these men and women who sacrifice so much for us every day,” Thacker said. “PFAS exposure is a hidden hazard to firefighters, and Indiana is committed to protecting them as much as possible through this program.”

“IDEM is proud to work with our state partners to protect the hardworking men and women who risk their lives for us,” Rockensuess said. “PFAS foam also has the potential to negatively affect our groundwater and removing it from our communities will make the environment a safer place for all Hoosiers.”

A state supplier will begin collections in May by contacting departments that have completed the foam collection initiative survey to arrange a pickup. IDEM will monitor the disposal program.