Alaska must tackle water quality issues

FAIRBANKS — On May 22 and 23, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a “Leadership Summit” in Washington, D.C., about PFAS contamination in drinking water.

PFAS are a class of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (collectively, PFAS), that are extremely persistent and toxic. Many Fairbanks residents are affected by contamination of their drinking water caused by dispersion of aqueous firefighting foams in groundwater plumes from Eielson Air Force Base, the Regional Fire Training Center, the Fairbanks International Airport and Fort Wainwright. And this is just the tip of the iceberg for Alaska. PFAS contamination in drinking water now affects over 16 million people in 33 states.