Dirty water at airport prompts testing of neighborhood wells
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Contaminated water has been found at the Fairbanks International Airport, prompting officials to plan tests at private wells in nearby neighborhoods.
Testing on the neighborhood wells will begin Monday will look for perfluorinated compounds, which are commonly found in fire-fighting foam, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
The airport well is the third area in the Fairbanks North Star Borough found with the contaminant.
“The safety of Fairbanks residents is paramount,” said Jeff Roach, airport manager. “As soon as (the contaminants) were discovered on airport property, FAI initiated the process of testing neighboring properties. We will share test results with residents as they become available.”
Angie Spear, manager of airport Division Operations, said the foam probably was used in the early 1990s. Fire-fighting foam was used at the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training sites.
Studies have linked the contaminant to numerous cancers, but research is limited.
Spear said none of the airport’s contaminated wells pose a risk to residents or business owners.
Six wells on airport property were tested, and four were found to be above the Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.
Geologist Marcy Nadel said groundwater in the region generally flows to the northwest, which is where the bulk of testing will take place.
Spear said the testing area is larger than what is required because of “an abundance of caution.”
“We’re basically trying to identify if a plume exists and what is impacted,” Spear said. “We don’t know what risks are there, and that’s why we need to test to be sure.”
The airport will offer bottled water to those living in the test area, Spear said.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com