ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Cuomo signed legislation banning the incineration of Aqueous Film Forming Foam containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the emerging contaminants known as PFAS, in certain cities. The law goes into effect immediately and bolsters the Department’s ongoing response to concerns raised by City of Cohoes residents to ensure the environment and community are protected after foam containing PFAS was disposed at the Norlite facility.
Under the new law, incineration of this foam is prohibited in cities designated as Environmental Justice areas by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation where the population is between 16,000 and 17,000 residents.
“There are enormous stockpiles of unusable AFFF firefighting foam stored around the country, with no scientifically proven safe plan for disposal,” said Bill Keeler, mayor of the City of Cohoes. “For two years, more than 2.4 million pounds of this hazardous material containing so called ‘forever chemicals’ was transported to Cohoes and incinerated. There is no doubt that much, much more was headed our way.”
“While the federal government has failed to regulate these compounds or protect the health of our communities, New York continues to respond to the threats posed by emerging contaminants like PFAS in our environment with sustained science-based actions,” Governor Cuomo said. “While this measure will ban incineration of firefighting foam containing these compounds in cities like Cohoes, our work is not over. We remain fully committed to this effort and will continue to advance comprehensive, statewide measures which protect all New Yorkers and our environment from emerging contaminants.”
This state prohibition against incineration of AFFF containing PFAS materials supports the one-year moratorium on AFFF incineration unanimously adopted by the Cohoes Common Council on April 28, 2020.