Tests show more wells tainted near Alaska refinery

Posted: Sunday, December 13, 2009

FAIRBANKS - Tests have shown more wells have been tainted with an industrial chemical from a refinery near Fairbanks.

Flint Hills Resources announced last month that six wells near its North Pole refinery had tested positive for sulfolane, a chemical with largely unknown long-term health effects.

Since then, expanded testing has determined about 30 private wells north of the refinery have been found with varying amounts of the chemical.

Sulfolane is used to make fuel and bonds easily with water. Flint Hills officials believe a sulfolane spill sometime before 2000 leached into the water table near the refinery, affecting an unknown number of wells.

All the homes with wells being checked are being provided with bottled water until sample results are cleared.

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