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King Salmon Airport Firefighting Foam Contamination

Page updated 8/29/19   Go to PFAS Home Page

Community Outreach

Background

King Salmon Airport

Above: King Salmon Water Sampling Results As Of 8/9/19
(click image for larger view)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) was recently alerted to concentrations of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) exceeding the state action level for drinking water in several wells located at and near the King Salmon Airport. Nine wells were sampled on or near airport property. Of the nine wells, one well located on airport property tested above the action level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of five PFAS compounds. The other eight wells had concentrations well below the action level of 70 ppt for the sum of five PFAS compounds. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) began initial sampling of private water wells near airport property in December.

DOT&PF has contracted Shannon & Wilson, Inc. to finish the preliminary investigation, which includes an in-depth well search and sampling event.

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.

Shannon & Wilson, Inc. sampled 20 drinking-water wells at residences and businesses on or near the airport for the presence of PFAS in the groundwater from March 14-19, 2019. PFAS were found in 17 wells, two of which had concentrations above the DEC action level. Three wells had no detections of PFAS. DOT&PF and Shannon & Wilson, Inc. began contacting community members to notify them of their results April 9, 2019.

In order to track PFAS movement in groundwater, DEC requires continued quarterly monitoring of wells with sample results above 35 ppt and annual monitoring of wells with sample results above 17.5 ppt. In addition to concentration, wells within 500 feet of impacted wells with PFAS concentrations greater than 17.5 ppt qualify for monitoring.

At the end of July 2019 Shannon & Wilson, Inc. conducted annual monitoring based on the criteria above in order to capture seasonal-use wells. Nine wells were sampled during this event in which one new well was sampled. Results from the new well indicated that there were no PFAS concentrations present. The eight remaining wells that had been previously sampled in March did not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level.

Those who participated in the sampling event will receive a copy of their results at the mailing address they provided. If you have questions regarding sample results please email airportwater@alaska.gov.

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Contacts

For more information, please contact us.

For questions about testing & study:

Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
Kristen Freiburger, Project Manager
907-479-0600
 krf@shanwil.com

For regulatory questions:

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, 
Contaminated Site Program
Environmental Program Manager
907-269-3057
bill.oconnell@alaska.gov 

Division of Spill Prevention and Response website: 
dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/sites.aspx

For questions about PFAS health effects:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Sarah Yoder, Public Health Scientist
907-269-8054
sarah.yoder@alaska.gov

Division of Public Health Website:
dhss.alaska.gov/dph/epi/eph/Pages/default.aspx

For claim filing instructions:

Alaska Department of Administration
Division of Risk Management
Sheri Gray, Risk Manager
PO Box 110218
Juneau, AK 99811-0218
907-465-5724
907-465-3690
sheri.gray@alaska.gov

For questions about King Salmon Airport Firefighting Foam and all other inquiries:

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Statewide Aviation
Sammy Cummings, PFAS Contract Manager
907-888-5671
airportwater@alaska.gov