April 23, 2019

April 23, 2019

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April 22, 2019

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Georgia Enacts Prohibition on PFAS Firefighting Foam

In the final hours of the 2019 Georgia legislative session, the House agreed to the Senate’s revision to the firefighting foam regulation bill, House Bill 458, with an almost unanimous vote of 159 to 1.

The final version of this legislation goes beyond the original HB 458 by prohibiting prospectively (on and after January 1, 2020) the discharge or other use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS chemicals. The law is still focused on “Class B” firefighting foam used to extinguish flammable liquid fires (like at airports, refineries, etc.), and defines “PFAS chemicals” to include those fluorinated organic chemicals that contain at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.

However, the fire code amendments now prohibit any fire department or other state or local entity from discharging or otherwise using Class B firefighting foam that contains PFAS chemicals, with two exceptions:

  1. Use of such firefighting foams in response to an emergency fire occurrence.

  2. For training or testing purposes at an engineered facility built to contain releases into the environment. The original proposed bill was focused solely on training exercises utilizing firefighting foam with PFAS chemicals.

The legislation is now expected to be signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.



About this Author

Charles Denton, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Grand Rapids and Atlanta, Environmental and Litigation Law Attorney

Charles M. Denton is a partner in the Grand Rapids and Atlanta offices of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and is a member of the firm’s national Environmental Law Department, which was recently recognized as Tier 1 for National Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation in the annual “Best Law Firms” ranking by U.S. News and Best Lawyers. He focuses his practice on environmental agency enforcement defense, toxic torts and class action litigation, “Brownfields” redevelopment, environmental compliance counseling, pollution insurance coverage and alternative dispute...