North Pole Refinery

Work on a $52 million project to expand North Pole’s municipal water system is expected to begin within a few weeks, now the City Council has awarded the contract to a Fairbanks company. The project will extend the system into areas where the groundwater was contaminated by a chemical compound that leaked from the now-shuttered North Pole Refinery more than a decade ago.


The City of North Pole today will begin soliciting contractors interested in working on a big project to expand the municipal water system. The project will more than double the number of customers now served by the city, in an effort to provide drinking water to areas where the groundwater has been contaminated by a chemical compound that for years leaked from the now-closed North Pole Refinery.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

It appears the dispute over how much to clean up contaminated groundwater in the North Pole area will continue into the new year. As KUAC’s Tim Ellis reports, officials with the state’s environmental regulatory agency are still reviewing studies to help them decide on a safe cleanup level for the chemical that leaked from a North Pole refinery into the area’s groundwater.


KUAC file photo

The city of North Pole has filed a lawsuit against the past and present owners of the refinery that leaked the industrial solvent sulfolane into the area’s groundwater.


KUAC file photo

State officials have approved a plan proposed by Flint Hills Resources-Alaska to continue an ongoing cleanup of sulfolane and other contaminants that have leaked from its North Pole refinery since the 1970s.The agreement may help improve the chances of Flint Hills eventually selling the refinery, which it closed in May.


KUAC file photo

A panel of experts wrapped up two days of meetings Thursday in Fairbanks that will help the state Department of Environmental Conservation determine the appropriate cleanup level for contamination of North Pole’s groundwater caused by chemicals leaking from the refinery now owned by Flint Hills Resources.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

An independent panel of experts will meet here in Fairbanks later this month to review the state environmental agency’s recommended cleanup level for sulfolane contamination in the North Pole area’s groundwater.

KUAC file photo

Officials with Flint Hills Resources-Alaska began shutting down the company’s North Pole refinery today. The closure of the facility that makes gasoline is the first step toward mothballing the whole facility – the largest crude-oil refinery in the state.


KUAC file photo

Officials with Flint Hills Resources Alaska announced today that they will halt processing crude oil at the company’s North Pole refinery over the next few months and shut down the facility. As KUAC’s Tim Ellis reports, company officials decided to shut down the refinery because of rising costs to run it and shrinking profit margins – and ongoing costs of cleaning up groundwater tainted by an industrial solvent that leaked from the refinery for years.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

The operator of the North Pole refinery wants to state to set a lower standard for cleaning up the sulfolane groundwater-contamination problem in the North Pole area. Flint Hills Resources Alaska has asked the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to set a less-stringent cleanup level for the industrial solvent that leaked into the groundwater for more than a decade before Flint Hills bought the refinery in 2004. The requests could delay cleanup for several months.


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