PFOS and the Use of Firefighting Foam at Hamilton International:
December 2011 – Hamilton International Airport, in consultation with the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and City of Hamilton, has completed the initial subsurface investigation to confirm the presence and extent of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) contamination on airport property and identify remediation options. Hamilton International is committed to full, open disclosure of all matters pertaining to this issue. We are posting below our consultant’s findings and expert opinion on remedial options.
May 2018 – Since 2011, Hamilton International Airport has been working with various levels of government to understand and address impacts associated with historical activities conducted at the former fire-fighting training area located on the Airport property. The Airport has continued to work with various levels of government for the appropriate solution.
In March 2018, the MOECC (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change) affirmed that no PFOS-related parameters were detected in surface water samples at the property boundary above applicable regulatory guidelines. The MOECC also affirmed that recent groundwater samples collected from 24 monitoring wells located along the Airport property boundary exhibited no PFOS-related parameters above applicable regulatory guidelines. To support the ongoing efforts on this matter, the Airport retained a specialized environmental consultant who has in-depth expertise in the assessment of PFOS-related parameters. A plan has been developed to support ongoing monitoring and, if needed, additional remedial effort.
September 2019 – October 2019, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), TradePort, the City of Hamilton and the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport finalized a Preventive Measures Order (a “PMO”) to address environmental impacts associated with Transport Canada’s historical firefighting practices on the Airport lands.
The PMO was a critical milestone in our nearly decade-long and on-going effort to address legacy impacts from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), which were used in firefighting foams. The PMO allowed TradePort and the Hamilton Airport to take actions to address impacted soil, sediment and surface water in the former firefighting training area, and to mitigate future off-site migration of PFAS associated with Transport Canada’s use of this area.
Working jointly with the Ministry, Hamilton International implemented a Mitigation Plan that included:
- the dewatering and restoration of an existing stormwater retention pond (completed September 18, 2019);
- excavation and long-term containment of PFAS-impacted soil and sediment (completed September 24, 2019 outlined on Diagram 1 below);
- installation of a low-permeability geosynthetic clay liner cap over the former fire-fighting training area (completed October 11, 2019);
- and the hydroseeding the FFTA cap, western pond and field drainage course to vegetate the surfaces and minimize erosion.
These mitigation measures were completed between September 16, 2019 and October 11, 2019. This collaborative process with the Ministry to address legacy impacts from Transport Canada’s historical use of the Airport lands demonstrates TradePort and the City of Hamilton’s ongoing commitment to public safety and the protection of the environment.
Diagram 1: Mitigation Plan Post Construction Survey
2020 Update, following implementation of the Mitigation Plan in the fall of 2019, Hamilton International has continued to conduct regular monthly inspections of the former firefighting training area to monitor and maintain the integrity of the cap and ensure a vegetative cover has established to mitigate against potential erosion.
The Airport continues to work with various levels of government in a collaborative and proactive manner to address impacts associated with historical activities at the Airport.
For additional information, please contact PFOS@flyhamilton.ca.