Dillingham well tests positive for PFAS contamination

The Department of Transportation says it was recently alerted to potentially harmful chemicals contaminating a drinking water source near the Dillingham airport.

The perflourinated substances, known as PFAS, have been linked to low birth weight, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease and kidney and testicular cancers.

In a written statement Friday, DOT says testing of nine wells around the airport showed one of them – the Holy Rosary Church well – tested more than twice the state’s “action level” limit of 70 parts per trillion. The well is now closed.

PFAS has been found in groundwater at multiple sites around the state, including several in Fairbanks, and often originate from firefighting foam. DOT says that is likely the case in Dillingham, as the contamination occurred near firefighting foam discharge areas.

DOT says anyone in Dillingham who uses the Holy Rosary Church well for drinking water can now go to the Dillingham Senior Center where water is available until a more-permanent solution is established.

Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts.

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