Alaska closes 2 lakes to fishing after finding contamination

April 7, 2019

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Alaska wildlife officials have closed two lakes to fishing near North Pole due to water contamination.

The state Department of Fish and Game announced last week the closures of Kimberly Lake northwest of North Pole High School and Polaris Lake on Eielson Air Force Base, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

The department also has suspended the stocking of hatchery fish in all lakes on the base southeast of North Pole, said Tim Viavant, the department’s regional management coordinator.

The chemical compound known as PFAS was found in concentrations above the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory levels. The substance is found in foam used to suppress oil fires.

Viavant said these fishing closures are the first he knows of in Alaska triggered by the chemical.

“This is a brand new issue for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and ADFG’s leadership is trying to figure out the best way to proceed,” Viavant said.

Firefighting foam with the chemical was accidentally discharged in Polaris Lake, prompting water testing in October 2016, said Laura Achee, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Kimberly Lake was tested for the chemical in October 2018 as part of the testing of groundwater near the former Flint Hills Refinery, Achee said.

“The primary focus on PFAS sampling and response has been aimed at potential drinking water impacts,” Achee said. “Limited surface water sampling has been conducted to date.”

No other fish-bearing bodies of water have been found to have high levels of the chemical, Achee said.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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