Alaska seeks extent of refinery chemical spill

Posted: Thursday, December 16, 2010

FAIRBANKS - The Alaska environmental commissioner says the state could know by February the extent groundwater has been contaminated by a chemical solvent spill decades ago at a refinery in North Pole.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig also said a team of agencies that has worked with the Flint Hills Resources refinery to study the issue is talking to national experts.

The state estimates about 200 wells in and near North Pole are contaminated. But the levels may not be high enough to make people sick, and are even below levels shown to cause harm to animals.

The spill occurred with a previous refinery owner, and Flint Hills officials have asked that company to help.

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