As a result of aqueous film forming foam being banned across the country and its slow removal from military bases, there’s been an immediate need to figure out the best alternatives to the effective fire suppressant.
Despite how well it works, the dangers of aqueous film forming foam are too much with how the PFAS within it causes environmental damage and human health issues. As of 2022, the U.S. military has briefed members of Congress on the variety of aqueous film forming foam alternatives.
If your industry still has aqueous film forming foam on-site, it’s essential to begin removing this hazardous waste from your facility to protect yourself and your employees from serious harm.
6 Alternatives for Aqueous Film Forming Foam
Most of these seven aqueous film forming foam alternatives have been presented to Congress as potential replacements for the fire suppressant. Each has its pros, but it’s equally important to consider their cons (mainly cost).
Finding the right solution for your business depends entirely on your budget and the types of fires you’ll be expected to put out.
Safespill is an ignitable liquid drainage floor. According to the company, “the hollow flooring system could remove a fuel spill before it posed a ‘pool fire’ threat,” thus removing the need for aqueous film forming foam. The company aims to continue developing sustainable and environmentally friendly fire suppression systems.
Safespill is incredibly effective and uses no chemicals, but it remains expensive as only one company produces this product. Safespill is also incredibly easy to maintain and uses only water to fight fires, leaving no hazardous waste behind.
2. Hi-Ex Foam
Hi-Ex, short for high expansion foam, is another alternative for aqueous film forming foam. Like AFFF, Hi-Ex utilizes a stable, long-lasting uniform bubble structure to suffocate fires from oxygen and eventually extinguish them. It’s PFAS-free and suitable for fresh or seawater.
Trusted amongst its user base, Hi-Ex works well fighting Class A fires. It’s been used in military hangers for years, but the time it takes to extinguish a fire is longer than AFFF, thus resulting in more damage.
3. Trench Nozzles
A trench nozzle contains the fire through a series of trenches, then suppresses it with nozzles inside. Thus, trench nozzle. Many trench nozzles use different types of foam fire suppressants, so it’s crucial to choose a system that does not use AFFF as its primary choice.
They are very effective in containing and suppressing fires, but the downside is that retrofitting your current system into a trench nozzle-specific one is costly. This system’s expenses will push many people towards different fire suppression solutions.
4. Water Sprinklers
By turning off the foam delivery parts of your current AFFF-compliant system, you can quickly turn what you already have into a simple water sprinkler. Since it’s just water, there are no concerns about environmental hazards or effects on your employees. At the same time, we know water is ineffective against fuel fires.
Because of this, water sprinklers do not meet fire code requirements for most industries that previously used AFFF. While a cheaper solution, water sprinklers are not the most effective (or within regulations).
5. Fluorine-Free Fire Fighting Foam
Fluorine-free fire fighting foam works along the same lines as AFFF but does not contain any of the hazardous PFAS. This product is made from water, solvents, and hydrocarbon surfactants and creates a bubble over the fire, thus cooling the flames down.
The apparent benefit of this solution is that you get similar results to AFFF without any of the chemicals. When it comes to fluorine-free fire-fighting foam, there are a lot of brand names to consider; reach out to a fire suppression system installation company for their best suggestions.
6. Dry Chemical Agents
Rather than foam or water, another AFFF alternative is the bevy of dry chemical agents on the market. Most, if not all, dry chemical agents do not contain any PFAS, thus making them environmentally safe. Usually, a dry tank is pressurized, and when activated, the dry chemicals are released via nozzles and piping.
When choosing a dry chemical agent for your fire suppression system, consider what types of fires you are putting out. Some work best in different classes, so keep that in mind when deciding.
Need Aqueous Film Forming Foam Removal? Call HWH Environmental Today.
If you still have Aqueous Film Forming Foam in your fire suppression system, it’s time for removal.
Contact our hazardous waste removal team and speak with an expert for your AFFF disposal needs.