North Pole Refinery - Project Home
Updated:July 7, 2014
update on the sulfolane issue
The discovery in late 2009 of sulfolane in drinking water wells near the North Pole Refinery, about 15 miles east of Fairbanks, has led to an extensive investigation of contaminated groundwater. The plume is nearly 2.5 miles wide and 3 miles long, one of the largest in the state. Flint Hills Resources of Alaska, the current refinery owner, responded quickly to offer affected residents an alternate drinking water source. Sulfolane, an emerging contaminant, was at first not officially listed as a hazardous chemical, and its long-term health effects from exposure have not yet been studied. This event has been unprecedented for the Contaminated Sites Program due to the number of properties affected with private drinking water wells and the size of the plume. For an overview in more detail, see Frequently Asked Questions.
Look At What's Happening
- DEC Sulfolane Investigation Update newsletter- June 2014.
- DEC Update on the adjudicatory hearing - April 28, 2014.
- Fourth quarter groundwater monitoring report -submitted January 2014.
- New map showing sulfolane plume monitoring results for the 4th quarter of 2013.
- Fact sheet on Health Recommendations and Next Steps (June 2013).
- Updated Frequently Asked Questions (June 4, 2013).
- Also available: Site Characterization Addendum (December 2012), Site Characterization Work Plans for 2013, and Interim Remedial Action Plan Addendum (January 2013).
- National Toxicology Program Accepts Sulfolane, Initiates Toxicity Studies.
- Developing a Groundwater Cleanup Level for Sulfolane.
- Laboratory Key Elements for Sulfolane Analysis in Water, Soil and Plants.
Other project news
Past newsletters, fact sheets and other information can be found on the Documents page.