PFAS Fire figthing foam transition - cleaning extinguishing systems

Many mobile or static extinguishing systems of fire brigades, airports, refineries, industrial plants, tank storage companies and military bases are still equipped with fluorine-containing extinguishing foam. Examples of this extinguishing foam are Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), Film Forming Fluoroprotein Foam (FFFP) and Fluoroprotein Foams (FP).

Fluorine-containing extinguishing foams contain a lot of PFAS. PFAS compounds are harmful to people and the environment. Due to historical use, soil, groundwater and waste water (sludge) have become contaminated. In anticipation of European legislation that will restrict the use of fluorine-containing fire-fighting foam, but also from the point of view of liability management, several companies and authorities are accelerating the transition to fluorine-free (F3) foam.

New F3 foams in combination with modern extinguishing techniques offer sufficient extinguishing power for the vast majority of fire scenarios and also meet the set standards. Like current PFAS-containing foams, it can easily be added to the water using existing admixture equipment.


A transition to a fluorine-free F3 foam requires good preparation, because this has consequences for the fire safety policy and the fire risk analyses. This includes making technical adjustments and paying attention to the environmental aspects of the old and new foam.

Here are the essential steps:

  • Determine whether the new foam is suitable for the different fire scenarios.
  • Determine whether and which adjustments are required in existing extinguishing systems to obtain an optimal mixing of the extinguishing agent with the extinguishing water.
  • Use test extinguishers to determine whether the alternative, fluorine-free foam actually delivers the performance specified by the manufacturer or certifying organization and tests such things as foam dispersion, foam strength and throw length. Often multiple batches of foaming agent are tested to exclude quality differences.
  • If the alternative foam proves to be effective, decide to exchange the fluorine-containing extinguishing foam.

De overstap op F3 in bestaande blussystemen vereist dat dat materieel zeer goed gereinigd. Onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat een industriële cleaning (met water, stoom en/of detergenten) het blussysteem niet voldoende reinigt.  Arcadis en Kenbri (website, whitepaper) hebben een reinigingsprocedé ontwikkeld dat blussystemen wel goed reinigt. Hierbij wordt o.a. gebruik gemaakt van een door Arcadis ontwikkelde reinigingsvloeistof (V0171). Zie onze referenties.

The switch to F3 in existing extinguishing systems requires that equipment is very well cleaned. Research has shown that industrial cleaning (with water, steam and/or detergents) does not sufficiently clean the extinguishing system. Arcadis and Kenbri (website, white paper) have developed a cleaning process that does clean extinguishing systems well. A cleaning fluid developed by Arcadis (V0171) is used for this. See our references.