FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Officials are testing wells near the Fairbanks International Airport after the state discovered water contamination at fire training sites in the area.
As with other sites in the Interior where groundwater has been contaminated, the culprit is chemicals found in aqueous film-forming foam that's used to fight the hottest, most dangerous fires.
Foams containing the chemicals are mandated for use by the Federal Aviation Administration, so firefighters have used it in training at the airport for years.
Long-term effects on human health are still being determined, but the chemicals have been shown to have significant health impacts in tests on animals.
Airport spokeswoman, Angie Spear, says testing of residential and commercial wells in the area started over the weekend.
She added that the airport is taking the situation seriously.
Angie Spear; Airport Division Operations Manager>>"The airport is committed to the residents that surround the airport, both the residents and the commercial property owners too. And we want to get the testing done as soon as possible. So we encourage people, if you're concerned, please contact Shannon and Wilson - their number is 479-0600 and they'll be happy to schedule you an appointment. They're also going door to door again in three teams, and that started today officially. So if you're concerned, please call them, or you can contact the airport here and I would be happy to speak to anybody who's concerned."