PFAS

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed regulating a group of flourinated chemicals collectively known as PFAS, including some that have infiltrated groundwater in the Fairbanks area. DEC proposes to set a cleanup level for groundwater contaminated with the chemicals.


PFAS contamination was the focus of a US Senate subcommittee hearing this week.  The session brought together government officials, and citizens from a growing number of communities, like Fairbanks and North Pole, where groundwater has been polluted by perfluorinated or PFAS chemicals from firefighting foams. KUAC’s Dan Bross reports.


Department of Environmental Conservation

The state has lowered the water contamination threshold for perfuorinated, or PFAS compounds. The manmade chemicals, once commonly used in a variety of products, from non-stick coatings to firefighting foams, are highly water soluble, and increasingly found in groundwater worldwide, heightening concerns about human ingestion of the chemicals linked to health problems. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, Alaska joins other states that have reduced the contamination threshold, in effort to better protect the public.

KUAC file photo

Fairbanks International Airport and Eielson Air Force Base no longer use a type of firefighting foam containing a chemical compound that’s contaminated groundwater around the city, and that poses a potential threat to human health.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Fairbanks City Councilman David Pruhs has directed staff to draft a plan over the next 90 days on how the city will respond to the growing problem of groundwater contamination caused by chemical compounds in firefighting foam. Pruhs told City Attorney Paul Ewers Monday that the plan must include a way for the city to compensate homeowners who could be paying for the local response to the contamination through their property taxes.


Erin Corneliussen/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

City and borough officials announced Thursday that another groundwater contamination hotspot has been found in the Fairbanks area, this time around South Davis Park. In response, borough Mayor Karl Kassel says the Parks and Rec Department will no longer use water from contaminated wells to irrigate the park’s heavily used sports fields.


Tim Ellis/KUAC

More than 60 homes around Fairbanks International Airport will be hooked-up to the College Utilities water system this summer, because area residents can’t get their drinking water from wells anymore due to groundwater contamination. But about 50 homeowners and others who showed up at a meeting Tuesday say they still have a lot of questions about the project – and the contamination.