Introduction

Perfluoroalky and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) containing firefighting foam is a source of drinking water contamination and may pose a risk to communities near locations where such firefighting foam is used and to the firefighters that use the foam. Because of the environmental impact and associated health risks, Governor Newsom signed the SB-1044 Firefighter equipment and foam: PFAS Chemicals into law on September 29, 2020. 

SB-1044 enacted the Health and Safety Code Sections 13029, 13061, and 13062 to gradually phase out the PFAS from Class B firefighting foam. The Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is tasked to monitor the use of PFAS at designated facilities, issue waivers to refineries and terminals for fixed suppression systems meeting identified criteria. 

Timelines:

The process and requirements of the PFAS-containing foam are codified in the Health and Safety Code (HSC) 13029, 13061 and 13062. In an effort to assist our stakeholders, the OSFM prepared the Information Bulletin 21-002 to discuss the compliance timelines required by this statute. Below is a summary of key compliance timelines:

  • On or before July 1, 2021:
    • A manufacturer of class B firefighting foam shall provide a written notice to any buyer if PFAS was intentionally added to the firefighting foam.
  • Products sold after July 1, 2021:
    • If the manufacturer has not already notified the buyer, a manufacturer shall notify the buyer if PFAS was intentionally added to the subject foam on or before December 31, 2021.
  • January 1, 2022:
    • Except for the operator of certain facilities, terminals, and oil refineries (see below for alternate deadlines), no person shall manufacture, distribute, and use class B firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS chemicals in California starting on January 1, 2022.
      • This requirement does not apply to PFAS-containing firefighting foam required by federal law.
      • If a federal requirement to include PFAS chemicals in class B firefighting foam is revoked, this regulation shall not apply for one year after the requirement is revoked.
    • The operator of a terminal or an oil refinery shall disclose the PFAS-containing firefighting foam to the OSFM via pfasnotification@fire.ca.gov on or before January 1, 2022. If the operator of a terminal or an oil refinery intends to transition a facility to PFAS-free firefighting foam, the operator is to inform the OSFM no later than 90 days prior to the proposed transition date.
    • If any part of a facility meets both of the following requirements, the compliance deadline extends to January 1, 2024.
      • Uses a fixed foam fire suppression system for class B fires.
      • Has in place a system designed for 110% containment of any expected discharge volume.
    • If a terminal or an oil refinery uses the PFAS-containing firefighting foam for the following purposes, the compliance deadline extends to January 1, 2028.
      • For use on a storage tank for combustible or flammable liquids with a surface area of 120 square meters or greater.
      • For use for fire suppression on a fuel-in-depth pool.
  • January 1, 2024
    • The operator of a facility shall comply with this regulation on or before January 1, 2024.
  • March 1, 2024:
    • A manufacturer of PFAS-containing firefighting foam shall recall the product. A recall of the product is to include safe transport and storage and documentation of the amount and storage location of the PFAS-containing firefighting foam.
      • Upon request, this documentation shall provide to the Attorney General, a city attorney, a county counsel, or a district attorney.
  • July 1, 2025:
    • A person that anticipated applying for a waiver for an oil refinery or terminals shall submit a notice of intent to pfasnotification@fire.ca.gov by July 1, 2025, in order to be considered for a waiver beyond January 1, 2028
  • January 1, 2028:
    • Unless the OSFM grants a waiver to the operator of terminal or oil refinery, the operator shall not use PFAS-containing firefighting foam.
  • January 1, 2032:
    • All waivers of PFAS-containing foams shall expire on January 1, 2032.

Notification:

The operator of a terminal or an oil refinery shall disclose the PFAS-containing firefighting foam to the OSFM via pfasnotification@fire.ca.gov on or before January 1, 2022.

Waiver Request:

If the operator of terminal or oil refinery wants to apply a waiver to extend the exemption deadline beyond January 1, 2028, the operator shall submit the following information consistent with requirements found in the authorizing statute to the pfasnotificaiton@fire.ca.gov:

  • Statement to apply for the waiver request
  • Reference the code section in which the OSFM may grant the waiver
  • Supporting documents showing that:
    • There is no commercially available replacement that is PFAS-free firefighting foams.
    • Information on the amount of PFAS-containing firefighting foam stored, used, or released onsite on annual basis.
    • A detailed plan, with timelines, for the operator of the terminal or oil refinery to transition to PFAS-free firefighting foam.
    • A plan for meeting the requirements of the statute.

Penalty:

Violations of this regulation are subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000 for a first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.