The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) is taking steps to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) impacted soil in the vicinity of the Kahului Airport (OGG) Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Training Pit. The steps HDOT is taking include fencing off the area where soil sampling shows PFAS and submission of an interim remedial action plan to the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH).
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.
Based on historical use, HDOT began soil sampling for PFAS at six locations. These locations are: 1) the 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 International Airport at Keahole, 4&5) the former ARFF Training Pits at the Hilo International Airport, and 6) the former ARFF Training Pit at the Lihue Airport. The OGG site sampling detected several PFAS compounds at or above HDOH environmental action levels for regular contact with the soil over many years.
The fencing of the PFAS impacted site at OGG is a temporary measure to prevent direct contact with the soil. HDOT will continue to work with HDOH on remedial actions at this site.
Groundwater beneath the fire training area has also been impacted by PFASs. The groundwater is not a source of drinking water and does not threaten other drinking water resources on the island. Additional investigation of the groundwater contamination is ongoing.
For more information on PFASs, visit Hawaii Health.