FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An inspection found contaminants in several wells that supply water to residents and businesses near Fairbanks International Airport.

The contaminants, perfluorinated compounds, are used to make products such as firefighting foam and are dangerous if ingested. The Environmental Protection Agency has linked exposure to low birth weights, and even forms of cancer.

The main fire station and two training areas south of the Fairbanks airport are the primary locations responsible for the contamination, according to Airport Operations Manager Angie Spear.

Thirty-three wells were tested at residences and businesses near the airport, with perfluorinated compounds found in 26 of them, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday. Nineteen of those 26 had levels above the health advisory level.

The airport is providing water delivery services for residents and businesses in the sampling area, which includes Airport Road Industrial, Dale Road, Decathlon Avenue, East Ramp and Chena Pump between the Boat Shop and the Pump House. Water is available for anyone, whether or not their water has been tested and regardless of the results of those tests.

In October, the airport found contamination above the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory level in four of six wells tested on airport property, which prompted the testing of neighboring wells.

“The Federal Aviation Administration has required for a very, very long time, to maintain certification you must have firefighting foam and you must test it annually with an FAA inspector,” Spear said.

Spear said 150 wells have been identified for analysis so far and that results will likely dictate future inspections.

“Just to be sure, we’re going to test from the Boat Shop to the Pump House on the north side of the Chena River,” she said.

A public meeting on the contamination has been scheduled for Dec. 18. Representatives from the Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health and Social Services and Shannon & Wilson will be available to answer questions.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com