(KING SALMON, Alaska) – Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently tested 10 wells located at and near the King Salmon Airport for Per- and Polyflouroalkly Substances (PFAS). One well, located on airport property, tested at 155 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of five PFAS compounds, which exceeds the DEC action levels of 70 ppt. The other wells that were tested ranged from not detected to 10 ppt. A temporary drinking water supply was immediately provided to the tenant at the leased lot. The Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) owns and operates the King Salmon Airport.
DEC began initial sampling of private water wells near airport property in December. DOT&PF has contracted independent, third-party environmental consultant, Shannon & Wilson, Inc. to conduct an in-depth well search and sampling event.
“Ensuring the safety of King Salmon residents is imperative,” said John Binder, DOT&PF Deputy Commissioner. “As soon as DEC alerted us that PFAS were discovered, DOT&PF in collaboration with DEC and Shannon & Wilson, Inc. began initiating the process of notifying the impacted tenant to provide an alternate source of drinking water.”
PFAS are commonly used in products for fire suppression, resistance to wear, and repelling oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS can be found in carpets, upholstery, apparel, paper, nonstick cookware, food packaging, personal care products, and in firefighting aqueous film forming foams (AFFF). The use of AFFF during firefighting equipment testing at the King Salmon Airport is the presumed source of PFAS contamination in the affected wells. PFAS are considered emerging contaminants and the health effects are not yet well characterized.
To learn more about PFAS, visit the following websites:
Department of Health and Social Services- Environmental Public Health Program: dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/eph
Department of Environmental Conservation: dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas-contaminants/
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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