Do you have an Aqueous Film Forming Foam (“AFFF”) Fire Protection System? If you have a flammable liquids or hazardous materials storage room, there is a good chance you may have an AFFF system.

The fire protection industry is moving away from AFFF due to the recently uncovered health consequences and environmental footprint of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”), and Perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) chemicals. Facilities that are diligently performing the annual inspection, testing, and maintenance required by NFPA 25 will quickly learn that their AFFF foam concentrate is no longer manufactured or available to top off the supply after testing. Since mixing of foam concentrates is strictly prohibited, the number of AFFF replacement projects is expected to dramatically increase. As demand increases, so will the replacement cost. So, Harrington Group, Inc. suggests that you take the first steps and get ahead of the curve!

Replacement foam concentrates are generally more viscous than AFFF, which results in larger foam concentrate piping from the bladder tank to the proportioner. Always check the concentrate manufacturer’s compatibility statement to determine if nonferrous concentrate piping is needed.

Design densities indicated in NFPA 13, NFPA 16, NFPA 30 are all currently based on older AFFF test results. As the new foam solutions are tested, the densities appear to be increasing. Therefore, any existing piping networks will need to be validated with the tested densities for the replacement foam concentrates. Also, higher anticipated densities will likely lead to larger required foam storage capacity.

The replacement options are limited at present. Keep in mind that any replacement foam concentrate must be UL Listed or FM Approved with the proportioning device, and the discharge devices (sprinklers). As of this writing, there are only three selections of foam concentrate that are UL Listed or FM Approved, are UL Listed or FM Approved with a selection of sprinklers, and are compatible with hydrocarbons and polar solvents.

All this is to say that there are no “drop-in” replacements!

Ensuring that your selection of a foam concentrate is listed with your existing sprinklers, if compatible, may be the only cost saving option available when choosing a replacement foam concentrate for your facility.

And finally, to make sure your selection will not be the next health concern, make sure it is listed as Green Screen Certified®.