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City considering ban on use, disposal of certain firefighting foam

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Posted at 6:18 AM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 09:12:58-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Tucson City Council is considering a ban on the use and disposal of a firefighting foam used to fight certain kinds of fire.

The foam is called fluorinated aqueous film-forming firefighting foam. It's often used to fight fuel fires.

During the December 17 city council study session there was an update given on PFAS and the CIty of Tucson's water supply.

During that section of the study session, Ward 6 councilman Steve Kozachik "directed staff to prepare an ordinance mandating that the city not use or dispose of fluorinated firefighting foams in the city limits," according to the study session summary.

Councilman Kozachik said he wants these fluorinated firefighting foams banned because they have PFAS chemicals in them, which are often referred to as "forever chemicals" because they stay in the environment and don't break down.

Those "forever chemical" are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, which are human-made chemicals found in a wide range of products used by consumers and industry, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

RELATED: PFAS chemical water contamination, how Tucson drinking water is safe

In June of 2018 two water wells near Davis-Monthan were shut down by Tucson Water after they were found to be contaminated with the chemicals.

RELATED: Tucson Water shuts down contaminated wells near DM

At the time Tucson Water said they caught the contamination at such an early phase, there was no known chronic exposure over lifetime.

Tucson Water also said Davis-Monthan was collaborating with them on an investigation into the contamination.

Back in 2016, Tucson Water shut down six different water wells on the northwest side of Tucson after the levels exceeded the PFAS health-based guidance levels.

Below are the locations to all eight closed water wells.

2051 S. Irving Ave.
4301 E. 32nd St.
8773 N. Western Red Cedar Dr.
7200 W. Twin Peaks Rd.
5324 N. Royal Palm Dr.
4010 W. Ina Rd.

Councilman Kozachik told KGUN city attorney's are working on drafting an ordinance that would ban the use and disposal of this specific firefighting foam. After they've done that, city leaders are expected to discuss it during a council meeting.