Skip to content

North Pole Piped Water Expansion

Updated: November 28, 2018

Overview

In 2009, sulfolane was detected in drinking water wells near the North Pole Refinery, about 15 miles east of Fairbanks. Under DEC oversight, Flint Hills Resources Alaska (FHRA), owner of the refinery, responded quickly by providing affected residents and businesses with alternative drinking water and initiating an extensive characterization effort. The sulfolane groundwater plume is currently approximately 2 miles wide, 3.5 miles long and over 300 feet deep, and continuing to migrate to the north-northwest.

FHRA and the State of Alaska announced on February 7th, 2017, that they will be working with the City of North Pole to significantly expand their piped public water system to provide sulfolane-free drinking water to residents impacted by the sulfolane groundwater plume.

Stantec, an international engineering firm with a local office in Fairbanks, was contracted to design the piped water system expansion. Exclusive Paving was contracted to construct the main water lines. Surveying and land clearing began in February 2018, and pipe installation began along the City’s northern boundary in March 2018.

The piped water expansion area was divided into four construction zones. Water main lines in Zones 1 and 2 were installed in 2018, and Zones 3 and 4 will be completed in 2019.

Current Events - Water Connection Sign-ups Begin December 2018 

Construction to expand the City of North Pole’s piped water system is proceeding and on schedule. The water main lines were installed in Zones 1 and 2 this past summer, while water main line construction in Zones 3 and 4 is scheduled for 2019. 

Signing Up for Water Service Details

The City of North Pole has sent notification letters to property owners who are eligible for water connection.

  • Zone 1 and 2 property owners may sign up for service at the North Pole City offices beginning December 5th, 2018. Those who sign up by May 31, 2019, will receive a $500 early sign-up bonus. The $500 bonus -cash or credit - will be mailed out by the City after all necessary paperwork is completed – likely within 2- 3 weeks of signing up.
  • Zone 3 and 4 property owners will be able to sign up in late 2019, after the water main lines have been installed in those areas. The early connection bonus will be available for Zone 3 and 4 property owners signing up between December 2019 and June 1, 2020.
  • To sign up for water service, you should complete a Utility Account Application Form. These forms will be available at City Hall (125 Snowman Lane in North Pole) and on the City’s webpage. Property owners will need to return the form to the city offices and present a photo ID such as an Alaska driver’s license, Alaska ID, or passport. For more information on the connection process, contact the City of North Pole at 907-488-8593.

Ensuring Clean Water - DEC's Drinking Water Program

DEC's Drinking Water Program requires public water systems to be in compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations. The design of the piped water expansion project was reviewed and approved by the Drinking Water Program. The City of North Pole's public water system is regulated by the State's Drinking Water Program.

There has never been a detection of sulfolane in the City’s treated drinking water. In 2010 a trace amount of sulfolane was detected in samples from the raw water entering the treatment system. The city’s treatment system removed the trace amount before the water entered the distribution system.

As a precautionary measure, FHRA constructed two new public drinking water wells for the City of North Pole outside of the contaminant plume. DEC issued operational approval in December 2010; the currently used wells began operating in January 2011.

The City of North Pole follows a prescribed testing schedule for sulfolane, in addition to other analytes, as required by DEC. The new wells have never had a detection of sulfolane in raw or treated water.

For more information contact Cindy Christian, Program Manager Field Operations, Drinking Water Program 907-451-2138, cindy.christian@alaska.gov.

Contacts

City of North Pole (owner of the public water system to serve the impacted area)

Exclusive Paving (contractor to construct the main water lines)

  • Construction Contractor-Water Main Lines
  • Rebekah Matar
  • 907-490-1347 (office)
  • 907-322-22226 (mobile)
  • rcoats@coalaska.com

Stantec, Inc. (water expansion design consultant)

Flint Hills Resources Alaska (current owner of former refinery property and provider of alternative water to those impacted)

  • Ground Water Office
  • Tim Arnold
  • 1100 H&H Lane, North Pole, AK 99705
  • 907-488-0723
  • groundwater@fhr.com

State of Alaska

DEC, Drinking Water Program (provides regulatory oversight of public water systems)

  • Drinking Water Program, Division of Environmental Health
  • Cindy Christian
  • Program Manager, Field Operations
  • 907-451-2138, 
  • cindy.christian@alaska.gov

DEC, Contaminated Sites Program (provides regulatory oversight on contaminated sites)

  • Contaminated Sites Program, Division of Spill Prevention and Response
  • Jim Fish
  • Environmental Program Specialist and Project Manager
  • 907-451-2117
  • james.fish@alaska.gov