Preliminary sampling at the former ARFF training pit at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport found PFAS and TPH.
HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) continues to monitor Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) sites for potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS). Preliminary soil and groundwater samples at the former ARFF training pit at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) have detected PFAS and TPH above Hawaiʻi Department of Health (HDOH) Environmental Action Levels. As a result, HDOT is preparing a Sampling and Analysis Report and Interim Remedial Action Plan for submittal to HDOH. A long-term Remedial Action Plan will be prepared once additional sampling and assessment are completed.
PFAS is a component of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF). Use of AFFF is necessary for firefighting at airports due to the nature of aircraft fuel fires. AFFF is no longer released in firefighting training, but was used in training prior to 2021. ARFF vehicles statewide have been retrofitted to limit the use of AFFF only to fires with or nearby aircraft fuel.
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) include diesel and motor oil.
In December 2022, HDOT took action to address PFAS impacted soil in the vicinity of the Kahului Airport (OGG) ARFF Training Pit and announced soil sampling at six locations (https://hidot.hawaii.gov/airports/hdot-addressing-pfas-impacted-soil-at-kahului-airport-fire-training-pit/). The former ARFF Training Pit at HNL is one of those six sites.
The list of six sites being monitored based on past use are: 1) the Kahului Airport (OGG) ARFF Training Pit, 2) the former ARFF Training Pit at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, 3) the ARFF Training Pit at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA), 4&5) the former ARFF Training Pits at the Hilo International Airport (ITO), and 6) the former ARFF Training Pit at the Lῑhuʻe Airport (LIH). HDOT is committed to continued action to reduce the risks associated with PFAS at its facilities.
Groundwater at the sites being monitored is not a source of drinking water and potential PFAS at these sites does not threaten drinking water resources. Aside from the OGG site, the fire training pits are not accessible to the public and do not pose a risk for direct exposure.