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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.
Quarterly sampling was performed in October 2019 and again in January 2020. Five samples were taken from water supply wells based on the monitoring criteria stated above during both sampling events. There were no new exceedances from either of the two sampling events. Shannon & Wilson, Inc. conducted a quarterly sampling event in June 2020. Four wells were sampled and there were no new exceedances. To date, approximately 21 wells have been sampled in King Salmon. Of those wells, two have exceeded the EPA’s LHA. Alternate water continues to be provided.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact us.
Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
Michael Jaramillo, Project Manager
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation,
Contaminated Site Program
Environmental Program Specialist III
Division of Spill Prevention and Response website:
Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Sarah Yoder, Public Health Scientist
Division of Public Health Website:
Alaska Department of Administration
Division of Risk Management
Ken Simpson, Claims Administrator
PO Box 110218
Juneau, AK 99811-0218
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Sammy Cummings, PFAS Program Manager