Strange particulates in AFFF tanks

Published:  04 November, 2016

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an alert following disturbing findings that could affect AFFF production or nozzle discharge.

The FAA has issued a CertAlert for airport operators and ARFF departments after crystalised particulates have been found in some AFFF tanks on ARFF vehicles.

The FAA is asking airports to check their vehicles, foam trailers, and bulk storage tanks to help determine whether this is a widespread issue.

The issue had previously been encountered only once, several years ago, in the reserve AFFF storage tank of Oklahoma City Airport.

According to the FAA, the issue has resurfaced again and has been found in at least four different ARFF stations around the US.

Although to date these crystals have not been found to affect the firefighting capabilities of AFFF, the FAA is concerned is that the crystallisation might possibly restrict the AFFF proportioning system and alter the AFFF production or nozzle discharge.

The FAA is asking Certificated Part 139 airports to proactively inspect the AFFF tanks on all ARFF vehicles, foam trailers, and bulk AFFF storage tanks as soon as possible.

The potential particles are grey/white in colour and are hard to the touch, with a crystallisation structure. A high concentration of particulates will be settled in the bottom of the tank, visible with a strong flashlight.

The FAA is advising affected organisations to contact the AFFF manufacturer for guidance; complete a survey; and send a sample to the FAA.

For more information, click here:

http://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_safety/certalerts/media/part-139-cert-alert-16-09-particles-afff-tank.pdf

Particulates drained AFFF tank

Drained AFFF tank.

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