Santa Maria Airport Takes Common Sense Approach to PFAS Testing, 2022

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals are an issue for airports because they are key ingredients in the aqueous film-forming foam that emergency crews use to fight aircraft fires that cannot be extinguished with water. The problem occurs when the foam makes its way into groundwater because PFAS are linked to health complications for humans and animals. Commercial airports are required to store and conduct regular training with the foam and test equipment that dispenses it.

Developing ways to mitigate existing PFAS contamination is challenging and will likely require aggressive mitigation over time. This California airport is using a scientific approach to identify PFAS at the airport focusing on certain areas and narrowing down specifics; a mitigation plan preapproved by state regulators and the Water Board saves the airport time and money.


Chuck Houser has over three decades of experience in the earth science industry. He is a registered geologist, certified engineering geologist, and certified hydrogeologist with experience conducting investigations on lithological formations. His experience includes environmental site assessments, groundwater monitoring, fault and landslide investigations, groundwater resource studies, geological mapping, and geotechnical investigations.


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