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Chemicals Found in Salcha Wells


The investigation of the dumping of firefighting foam residue in gravel pits near Harding Lake and Salcha south of Fairbanks, has turned up unexpected chemicals.  The foam residue was from testing of firefighting systems at Eielson Air Force Base, and a local contractor: Rolling Stone Inc., had an approved plan to properly dispose of it, but instead,

an estimated 33 thousand gallons of the 2% foam solution were dumped on the ground at 2 company owned gravel pits off the Richardson Highway this spring. State Department of Environmental Conservation preparedness and response manager Sarah Moore says according to the foam manufacturer, it does not contain PFAS, but test results from 3 of 46 additional totes of the foam waste at the Rolling Stone gravel pits, turned up the chemicals.

Dumping PFAS: Q:”… unregulated fluorinated compounds.”

On another front, Moore says preliminary results from tests on 2 area drinking water wells found another unexpected chemical.

Dumping Wells: Q:”…confirm those analysis.”

Moore says the origin of both chemicals is undetermined, and because there are a number of quality issues with the sampling results, the state has not issued a drinking water advisory.

Dumping Drink: Q:”…additional sampling results.”

Meanwhile, Moore says the Army Corps of Engineers and the Air Force are preparing to test wells on private properties within a quarter mile of the dumping sites, but have declined to test for PFAS, so the state is stepping in.    

Dumping Declined: Q:”…conduct that sampling.”

Moore says the DEC anticipates having additional results including from PFAS tests on samples from the Salcha public well, by Monday June 29th.

Dan has been in public radio news in Alaska since 1993. He’s worked as a reporter, newscaster and talk show host at stations in McGrath, Valdez and Fairbanks. Dan’s experience includes coverage of a wide range of topics, from wolf control to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and dog mushing.