Colorado laws and policies related to chemicals from firefighting foam and other sources

The state legislature passed several bills to address PFAS chemicals. This timeline shows when regulations of these chemicals will take effect. More information can be found on our FAQ (en español).

House Bill 19-1279

House Bill 19-1279 created laws on the use, storage, and distribution of firefighting foam containing these chemicals.

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The law: 

  • Bans the use of firefighting foam containing these chemicals for training or testing systems that suppress fire. 
  • Restricts the sale, manufacture, or distribution of firefighting foam containing these chemicals within the state starting August 2, 2021.
    • The bill includes exemptions for federal law requirements, storage or distribution of fuel, refineries, chemical plants, and the Eisenhower tunnels. 
  • Requires manufacturers to notify businesses that sell firefighting foam containing these chemicals about the sale restriction.
  • Requires manufacturers or sellers of personal protective equipment to inform buyers if the product contains these chemicals.
  • Directs the department to do a state-wide survey every three years of fire departments’ inventory and use of firefighting foams containing these chemicals.​
Related documents

House Bill 19-1279 fact sheet.

HB 19-1279 January 2020 Report to the Legislature.

Funding to provide airports with equipment to test PFAS foam systems without dispensing foam.

 

House Bill 20-1119

House Bill 20-1119 made amendments to the laws created under HB 19-1279. The bill also adds a Certification of Registration Program.

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The law:

  • Permits any entity to use and store firefighting foams containing these chemicals as long as they have a certificate of registration.
    • The Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission must approve the certificate of registration.
  • Allows the use of firefighting foam containing these chemicals for testing until January 1, 2023, for certain situations. They must follow proper capture and disposal standards. Allowable uses under the law are:
    • Structures used to store or maintain aircraft at federally designated public-use airports that meet testing requirements within the statute. 
    • Anyone that has a certificate of registration. 
Certificate of Registration Program

Firefighting foams fall into two main categories, Class A and Class B. Class A foams are used to fight fires caused by wood, paper, and plants. They generally do not contain PFAS chemicals. Class B foams put out fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline, oil, and jet fuel. They may contain PFAS chemicals. 

Anyone using or storing Class B firefighting foam containing these chemicals must register through the Certificate of Registration Program. The Hazardous Waste Management Division developed this program with stakeholders (see materials from stakeholder meetings).  

We will share information in the coming months on a Takeback Program. This program allows the department to purchase, collect, and provide interim storage for PFAS containing firefighting foams until a safe storage method is identified.

 

Senate Bill 20-218

Senate Bill 20-218 collects fees from fuel transport. These fees go to a cash fund that the department will use to study these chemicals and protect public health.

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This cash fund will provide funds for:

  • Implementing a takeback program that purchases and properly disposes of PFAS firefighting foam. 
  • Sampling, assessment, and investigation of these chemicals in groundwater, lakes, rivers, and other surface waters. 
  • Funding water system infrastructure projects to treat for these chemicals. 
  • Providing emergency assistance to communities affected by the chemicals. 

We anticipate launching this program in that fall of 2021.

Reports

2021 PFAS Takeback and Grant Program Annual Report.

 

PFAS Narrative Policy (Policy 20-1)

In July 2020, the Water Quality Control Commission adopted the department's proposed PFAS Narrative Policy.

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It can take a long time to develop a numerical standard for surface and groundwater. To better serve Coloradans, the department chose to pursue an existing path to protect public health. The PFAS narrative policy describes how the department will regulate these chemicals in Colorado lakes, streams, and other waters. This includes monitoring for the chemicals and setting limits for discharge permits.

Before proposing the policy, we hosted three stakeholder meetings to gather feedback. You can find all materials in the Narrative Policy Work Group meeting materials files. 

Related documents

Memo to the Water Quality Control Commission.

Implementation of Policy 20-1 fact sheet.

Narrative Policy Work Group meeting materials files.