North Pole Refinery Project Home
Updated: November 29, 2018
Piped Water System Expansion
Signing up For Water Service
- Zone 1 and 2 property owners may sign up for service at the City Offices beginning December 5th, 2018.
- Those who sign up by May 31, 2019, will receive a $500 early sign-up bonus - cash or credit.
- City of North Pole's website for sign-up
- See more in our latest newsletter
This summer, DEC made use of an existing sulfolane monitoring program and sampled a small number of water wells in the North Pole area for a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or “PFAS.” PFAS have been detected in drinking water supplies in some communities in Alaska, including Fairbanks and Moose Creek. DEC is aware that fire-fighting foams containing PFAS were historically used on the former North Pole Refinery property and are present in soil and groundwater on the refinery.
- Due to sulfolane contaminated groundwater in the area, the residents and businesses in the North Pole piped water expansion project area are already being provided with safe alternative drinking water or point of entry (POE) well water treatment systems.
- Results suggest that POE systems provided to some properties for removal of sulfolane are also effectively removing PFAS.
- Results indicate the PFAS contamination extends from the former refinery. It is not yet known if there are any other PFAS sources.
More Extensive Sampling Conducted
- Evaluate the boundaries of PFAS groundwater contamination,
- Provide more information on the potential source(s) of PFAS in the groundwater, and
- Confirm the effectiveness of the POE treatment systems in removing PFAS.
Results of the current sampling event are expected to be available to the public in late 2018. The most current information will be available at the December 5th Open House.
In anticipation of questions about impacts to garden vegetables, DEC will also be evaluating the uptake of PFAS into produce irrigated with PFAS-contaminated groundwater. Soil samples will also be collected to evaluate impacts from irrigation water containing PFAS. DEC will work with DHSS to evaluate the garden exposure pathway and will provide information and results to the public as it becomes available.
- See the results of the first round of sampling and additional information in the October 2018 fact sheet about the PFAS investigation.
- For more information on these chemicals, see DEC’s page on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
DEC's Contaminated Groundwater Advisory - November 2018
DEC recently issued a Contaminated Groundwater Advisory to all property owners within the North Pole piped water expansion area where many private water wells contain sulfolane, and/or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The advisory assists residents in avoiding unintentional contact with, or spreading of, the chemicals.
While it is known that the spreading of pollution is not allowed under Alaska law, many may not be aware that using untreated, contaminated well water may cause the spread of pollution. Bringing impacted well water to the surface may expose people to the chemicals and/or allow the chemicals to spread onto other properties, sloughs, or ponds. In issuing this advisory, DEC is seeking the community’s assistance in minimizing the future spread of these contaminants.
- See the Contaminated Groundwater Advisory (PDF)
- See Frequently Asked Questions on the Advisory (PDF)
- See more on this issue in the latest newsletter.
Documents of General Interest
- DEC Sulfolane Response newsletter, November 2018.
- Maps showing sulfolane plume monitoring results for 2017.
- DHSS Fact sheet on PFAS in Drinking Water (PDF 242K) (November 2018)
- Groundwater monitoring reports for 2017
- DHSS Fact sheet on Sulfolane Health Recommendations and Next Steps (PDF 242K) (June 2013)
- DEC fact sheet "Sulfolane: Research Efforts by the National Toxicology Program (PDF 104K) - June 2015, revised November 2018