Contaminated water open house draws crowd in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS — At least four dozen interested residents gathered Tuesday night for an open house on groundwater contamination in and around Fairbanks International Airport.
As of Tuesday, 61 wells from 58 adjacent residential properties and business were found to have unhealthy levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often called PFAS.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a health-advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (about three drops in an Olympic-size pool) for PFAS, but officials from Fairbanks International Airport are rounding up any wells testing at 65 parts per trillion or higher.
Wells found to have 35-65 parts per trillion will be monitored quarterly.
Environmental consultants Shannon & Wilson are responsible for well testing, R&M Consultants have been hired to map the pollution’s plume and PDC Engineers are designing the infrastructure to hook up affected properties to GHU.
The majority of contaminated wells are in the Dale Road area, on the west side of the Chena River.
“We just received our first exceedance across the river,” Spear said.
Herber was one of only a few people who asked questions in a group format, the majority choosing to speak one-on-one with representatives.
Understanding how the contamination plume interacts with the Chena River, and subsequently the Tanana River, is a major unknown that R&M Consultants want to better grasp this summer.
The airport has been providing water to people with contaminated wells or wells with suspected contamination.

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