Environmental Protection Agency

KUAC file photo

Golden Valley Electric Association is facing a deadline on whether to upgrade or shut down its oldest and most reliable power plant. The utility’s board of directors must decide over the next couple of years whether to pay up to 50-million dollars to install a new pollution-control system on the coal-fired Healy Unit 1. And two candidates running for the most hotly contested seat in this year’s board elections differ on how they’d decide the issue.


The Environmental Protection Agency has taken federal Clean Air Act-mandated actions to reduce Fairbanks North Pole area wintertime fine particulate pollution. A fact sheet is attached below.


Dan Bross / KUAC

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has submitted a new fine particulate pollution control plan for the Fairbanks-North Pole area, to the Environmental Protection Agency. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the updated plan is required because the area has failed to meet a federal Clean Air Act standard for the health damaging fine particulates, known as “P.M. 2 point 5”, produced by burning wood, coal, and oil.

Robyne

One way to clean up winter air is to get Interior Alaska residents to stop using old, polluting woodstoves. The Environmental Protection Agency just granted five million dollars to the state’s Air Quality office to enhance a woodstove-buy-back program. They are passing some of it on to the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which has been running a change-out program for 10 years. 


Dan Bross / KUAC

US Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler visited Fairbanks yesterday (Mon) to gather input on a new plan to reduce local wintertime fine particulate pollution. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the EPA is ultimately responsible for approving the state generated plan.

GVEA

Golden Valley Electric Association will close a facility that processes coal ash produced by the Healy 1 power plant within five years, because it’s been leaking more toxic heavy metals into the area’s groundwater than federal regulations allow. Golden Valley also will come up with a plan to clean up groundwater contamination around the coal-fired power plant in Healy.


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

State air-quality regulators told local officials and about 50 members of the public Tuesday that the Fairbanks North Star Borough soon will have to impose a new set of tough measures to dramatically reduce fine particulates and other air pollutants in the Fairbanks area. The new measures will affect just about everyone in the area – not just those who burn wood for heat.

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.


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