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Site Report: FIA - Sitewide PFAS


Site Name: FIA - Sitewide PFAS
Address: 6450 Airport Way; Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, AK 99709
File Number: 100.38.277
Hazard ID: 26816
Status: Active
Staff: Robert Burgess, 9074512153 robert.burgess@alaska.gov
Latitude: 64.813025
Longitude: -147.873165
Horizontal Datum:WGS84

We make every effort to ensure the data presented here is accurate based on the best available information currently on file with DEC. It is therefore subject to change as new information becomes available. We recommend contacting the assigned project staff prior to making decisions based on this information.

Problems/Comments

Fairbanks International Airport (FIA) detected Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in groundwater and surface water samples taken at various locations throughout airport property in September 2017. Concentrations of contaminants exceeded the EPA's lifetime health advisory (LHA) levels and DEC cleanup levels in several samples. The contaminants originate from the historic use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in the vicinity of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting building (ARFF) on the west side the facility and the Firefighter Training Areas on the south side of the facility; groundwater concentrations of PFOS and PFOA in samples taken near these locations exceed concentrations of samples from other areas.

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
8/31/2015 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the Airport Environmental Manager to discuss several sites. The possibility of airport personnel collecting PFC samples as a cost saving measure was discussed. DEC stated that it was a possibility but would require a third-party waiver and oversight by DEC staff. DEC will continue discussing site characterization and PFC sampling with DOT Robert Burgess
5/26/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the airport environmental manager, who agreed that work on the old and new fire training pits will be contracted this summer and will include a review of files and plans for sampling contaminants of concern or potential concern, including fuels and perfluorinated compounds. Robert Burgess
4/5/2017 Meeting or Teleconference Held The DEC met with the airport environmental manager and a member of her staff to discuss DEC priorities at the Fairbanks airport. Characterization of the fire training area was stressed as DEC's highest priority at the airport. The FIA environmental manager stated that work in the area of the former fire training pit will be taking place this summer, but is more focused on assessing the shooting range that the FAA is requiring them to decommission. DEC staff suggested that PFAS samples be taken opportunistically during the soil sampling effort for the shooting range. Robert Burgess
10/27/2017 Update or Other Action The Airport Environmental Manager has notified DEC of the results of testing for perfluorinated compounds at several existing wells and surface water bodies throughout the airport property. Samples near the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) and the fire training pit and former fire training area contained perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at concentrations exceeding the DEC cleanup level, while concentrations of several other samples exceeded the EPA's lifetime health advisory for drinking water. A meeting is planned for the week of October 30. Robert Burgess
11/2/2017 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with airport staff to discuss detections of PFOA and PFOS above drinking water advisory levels in existing monitor wells at several locations throughout airport property. The airport plans to move forward quickly to sample nearby, downgradient drinking water wells and provide alternative water sources to affected homes and businesses. Robert Burgess
11/8/2017 Update or Other Action DOT has contracted Shannon & Wilson, Inc. to perform a drinking water well search and sampling effort at properties northwest of the airport. Mailing packets and door hangers are being distributed to homes and businesses in the area to notify residents of the issues and the sampling request. Robert Burgess
11/15/2017 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC had a teleconference with the Fairbanks Int. Airport Environmental Manager to discuss updates on the ongoing PFOS/PFOA sampling effort for private drinking wells down gradient of the documented PFOS/PFOA contamination on airport property. Shannon and Wilson, Inc. is providing outreach materials, contacting potentially impacted residents, and conducting sampling of drinking water wells. Sample results from the initial effort are expected by early December. Gretchen Caudill
11/21/2017 Site Added to Database A new site has been added to the database Mitzi Read
11/21/2017 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed for source area id: 80176 name: FIA - Sitewide PFAS Gretchen Caudill
12/4/2017 Update or Other Action Results from the initial testing of drinking water wells down gradient of the PFAS source areas have been reported. Shannon and Wilson, Inc. have collected samples from 81 drinking water wells thus far, results have been provided for 52, and of those 52, 26 are above EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory level (8 are above DEC's groundwater cleanup level). Fairbanks International Airport is providing alternate drinking water to impacted residents. A public meeting to present information and discuss the site is planned for December 18. Weekly interagency meetings are continuing. Gretchen Caudill
12/13/2017 Update or Other Action Five results packages have been received for drinking water well testing by Shannon and Wilson, Inc. To date, results for 88 samples have been received - 42 total wells have detected PFOA/PFOS above EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory. Of these, sixteen wells have concentrations of PFOS above DEC's cleanup level. Samples are still pending for 14 wells. Alternate drinking water is continuing to be provided to impacted residents by the airport. Weekly interagency meetings are continuing. Gretchen Caudill
12/18/2017 Meeting or Teleconference Held Public meeting was hosted by DOT for impacted community members. DEC, DOT, and DHSS presented and answered questions from the public. Gretchen Caudill
1/16/2018 Update or Other Action Additional sampling efforts have begun on the west side of the Chena River to evaluate potential PFAS migration. Gretchen Caudill
1/19/2018 Update or Other Action To date 133 wells have been sampled by Shannon and Wilson, Inc. in the impacted area. 123 sample results have been received. 51 wells were above EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA)of 70 ppt, 19 of those exceeded the DEC cleanup level for PFOS of 400 ppt. 72 wells were below the LHA, 24 of those were non-detect for contamination. Gretchen Caudill
2/1/2018 Update or Other Action To date 149 wells have been sampled, 142 results received. 60 wells are above the EPA's LHA and 82 are below. 19 wells are above DEC's cleanup level. DOT FAI is contracting the design and construction portion of the hookups to College Utilities for impacted properties to take place summer 2018. All residents with sample results have been contacted by Shannon and Wilson, Inc. to provide results and contact information for Risk Management for residents to initiate the individual claims process. Weekly interagency meetings are continuing and a follow up public meeting is planned for March 13. Gretchen Caudill
2/22/2018 Update or Other Action DEC Contaminated Sites and DEC Drinking Water Programs sent a letter to Fairbanks International Airport and the City of Fairbanks (a separate PFAS plume) informing both parties of the low levels of PFOA and PFOS detected in the Golden Heart Utilities and College Utilities water supply. These levels are not expected to result in adverse health effects, however qualifying residents in the FAI PFAS-impacted area will be hooked up to this utility water in the summer of 2018 and should be made aware of these results. Gretchen Caudill
2/23/2018 Update or Other Action 149 wells have been sampled and all results received. 59 wells are above EPA's LHA of 70 ppt(Note: a slight discrepancy in number of results and exceedances were previously reported). All residents have been contacted and properties with results exceeding the LHA have been provided information on how to file a claim with Risk Management to ensure they are hooked up to College Utility's water system. Design planning continues for the summer 2018 hookups to College Utilities for qualifying residents. Contact has been made with residents across Chena River to discontinue water delivery service as no exceedances to date have been found in drinking water wells across the Chena River. A press release announcing the public meeting is expected March 1. Gretchen Caudill
3/5/2018 Potentially Responsible Party/State Interest Letter A notification letter was provided to advise the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Fairbanks International Airport of its liability for the contamination identified at the Fairbanks International Airport (FIA) Sitewide PFAS site. Gretchen Caudill
3/9/2018 Update or Other Action To date, 153 wells sampled and 150 results received. 60 wells are above the EPA’s LHA of 70 ppt, including one across the Chena River, and 90 are below. An upcoming Open House is scheduled for March 13, 2018. DHSS, DEC, FAI, College Utilities, DAS-Risk Management, R&M (env. consultants), PDC (utility hookups), and Shannon & Wilson will all be present. Weekly interagency meetings are continuing. Gretchen Caudill
3/14/2018 Meeting or Teleconference Held A public meeting hosted by DOT FAI was held March 13, 2018. DHSS, DEC, FAI, College Utilities, DAS-Risk Management, R&M (env. consultants), PDC (utility hookups), and Shannon & Wilson were present to answer questions. Presentations were given by PDC and R&M. Gretchen Caudill
3/29/2018 Update or Other Action Work plan for PFAS groundwater site characterization has been received from R&M and is currently under review by DEC. To date, 63 wells exceed the EPA LHA for combined PFOA and PFOS. Gretchen Caudill
4/6/2018 Update or Other Action DEC provided a letter to DOT FAI requesting DOT to continue providing an alternative drinking water source to properties with current or future sample results exceeding 65 ng/L total of the six UCMR3 PFAS compounds (PFOS, PFOA, perfluorononoanoic acid [PFNA], perfluorohexanesulfonic acid [PFHxS], perfluoroheptanoic acid [PFHpA], and perfluorobutancsulfonic acid [PFBS]; n=19). DEC also requested any properties with results above 35 ng/L for the six compounds be included in the quarterly sampling effort and annual sampling for any detections. DEC strongly encourages the decommissioning of wells with exceedances of DEC cleanup levels (n=21). Gretchen Caudill
4/10/2018 Potentially Responsible Party/State Interest Letter Additional PRP letters provided to Alaska Fire Chiefs Association; Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Alaska Department of Public Safety, Fire, and Life Safety; and Alaska State Firefighters Association. Gretchen Caudill
4/12/2018 Update or Other Action To date, 158 wells have been sampled. 63 wells exceed the LHA and 21 exceed DECs cleanup level. Gretchen Caudill
5/3/2018 Update or Other Action The airport responded to the DEC's letter requesting to continue to supply alternative water to properties with wells containing total PFAS above 65 ng/L. The letter stated that in the absence of cleanup or advisory levels for the other PFAS compounds, they cannot act. DEC will continue to discuss the issue with the airport project manager. Robert Burgess
5/8/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC provided comments to the PFAS Groundwater Characterization Work Plan. Robert Burgess
5/8/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received responses to comments for the PFAS Groundwater Characterization Plan. Robert Burgess
5/22/2018 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the airport and the department of law to discuss the regulatory basis for the request to continue supplying alternative water to properties with total PFAS exceeding 65 ng/L. Robert Burgess
6/4/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received a revised PFAS Groundwater Characterization work plan that includes agreed upon revisions based on DEC comments and responses to comments. Robert Burgess
6/15/2018 Update or Other Action To date 170 wells have been sampled / 164 results have been received. 68 wells are above the EPA’s LHA 70 ppt and 96 are below. Secondary well (outside wells) searches and sampling has begun. 57 claims have been filed with Risk Management for hook ups to College Utilities water system. Gretchen Caudill
6/20/2018 Site Characterization Workplan Approved DEC approved the Final PFAS Groundwater Characterization Plan. Robert Burgess
8/13/2018 Update or Other Action DEC sent a letter to the Fairbanks International Airport requiring the airport to provide water to properties with well results testing above 70 ppt for the sum of five PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFHpA. The letter also clarified other DEC requirements, and required quarterly sampling for any wells testing above 35 ppt for the Sum of 5 PFAS, and annual sampling of any well with any PFAS detection. The letter also requested that the airport work with property owners to ensure that contaminated wells be disconnected and taken out of use or decommissioned, or have treatment systems installed. Robert Burgess
8/20/2018 Update or Other Action DEC published a technical memorandum titled "Action Levels for PFAS in Water and Guidance on Sampling Groundwater and Drinking Water," which outlines the requirements for responsible parties to take action to provide drinking water based on a sum of the concentration of 5 PFAS exceeding 0.07 ug/L (=70 ppt) or the concentration of a 6th PFAS, PFBS, at a concentration of 2.0 ug/L (=2,000 ppt). Robert Burgess
10/2/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received the November 2017 to April 2018 Private Well Sampling report from Shannon & Wilson, Inc. The report documents results of PFAS sampling in privately owned wells on or downgradient from Airport property. Robert Burgess
3/15/2019 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received the May to December 2018 Private Well sampling report from Shannon & Wilson, Inc. The report documents sampling during that time period for privately owned wells on or downgradient of airport property. Robert Burgess
4/8/2019 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received and reviewed the Final 2018 PFAS Groundwater Characterization report from R&M Consultants, Inc. The report documents the installation and sampling of several temporary well points to begin delineating the vertical and horizontal extent of PFAS contamination on airport property and in areas down- and upgradient from known source areas. Robert Burgess
4/9/2019 Update or Other Action The technical memorandum describing action levels for the Sum of 5 PFAS was revised and now directs responsible parties to take action based on the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory level (LHA) of 70 ppt for the sum of two PFAS, PFOS and PFOA. Robert Burgess
6/21/2019 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received the Fairbanks International Airport Fire Training Pit Corrective Action Work Plan, which describes work intended to treat and discharge the water currently retained in the lined pit, cap the pit, and install two monitoring well clusters up and downgradient of the fire training pit for ongoing monitoring of groundwater. (See "FIA Fire Training Pit" contaminated site, file number 100.38.070) Robert Burgess

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