Firefighting foam is one of the most significant sources of water contamination from the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS-based firefighting foams have been widely used by the military, fire training centers, and airports for five decades. While PFAS is toxic, local fire departments in Marinette and Menominee County have been using PFAS-based firefighting foam for years. But in 2020, the Marinette Fire Department took a proactive approach to keep our community and environment safe. Marinette Fire Chief Jay Heckel says, “we began using the PFAS-free foam back in 2020.”

Heckel says, “we hadn’t used the PFAS-based foam a lot but every time you do, you’re introducing fluorine and the PFAS chemicals in the environment.”

There is huge momentum toward ending the use of PFAS-based foams. States and countries are banning it, foam manufacturers are making PFAS-free foams, and there is a new green certification to ensure they are safer. To learn more about PFAS in Wisconsin and learn if it’s in your community, visit