Flint Hills Resources


The City of North Pole will begin accepting applications next week for area residents who want to connect to the town’s recently expanded water system.

City of North Pole

The North Pole City Council tonight will consider awarding a contract to an engineering company to develop a plan intended to protect the community’s groundwater from contamination. The mayor says the plan is needed to ensure the city will be able to expand its municipal water system to areas where the groundwater already is contaminated.

Flint Hills Resources

A federal agency will conduct a study to determine the danger of drinking groundwater contaminated by the industrial solvent sulfolane (SULL-fo-lane) in the North Pole area. The research was sought by the state of Alaska as it tries to set a clean up level for wells tainted by sufolane from spills at a local oil refinery. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the new study will delay a determination on what constitutes safe water.

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.


Officials with Golden Valley Electric Association have reached a deal with the parent company of Petro Star refinery in North Pole to buy fuel for a North Pole power plant that won’t be available from the Flint Hills Resources refinery when it shuts down in two weeks. GVEA ratepayers may see the impact of that deal on their monthly bills sometime after July 1st.

Tim Ellis/KUAC

North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward says he has some concerns about a proposal by Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins to expand the city’s water system into areas where an industrial solvent has contaminated groundwater. Meanwhile two state environmental officials say they strongly support another proposal by Hopkins to quickly begin cleanup of sulfolane-contaminated groundwater in the North Pole area. But they say the cleanup should wait until the state can complete tests on treating the sulfolane.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Teams of lawyers representing the past and present owners of the North Pole refinery are preparing for the next round in court while awaiting rulings by a Fairbanks judge after a weeklong hearing in the long-running legal fight over who’s responsible for tainting North Pole’s groundwater with an industrial solvent, and who should pay for helping area residents whose drinking water has been fouled by sulfolane.