News Feature | October 4, 2017

Stipends May Be Solution To PFC Remediation Funding

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Who should pay to resolve perfluorinated compound (PFC) contamination: well owners, polluters, local governments, states, environmental regulators, or the Pentagon?

That’s a question up for debate around the country as the PFC pollution leaks off of military bases and factories into drinking water systems.

One community in Alaska is considering a striking model for remediating pollution in which everybody chips in.

The Fairbanks City Council is considering an ordinance that would provide a stipend to water

ratepayers with contaminated wells, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.  

The ordinance “would appropriate $100,000 toward a stipend to help affected families pay their water bills,” the Associated Press reported.

“Since announcing a couple dozen properties had been affected by the contamination, the city has provided clean water at no cost, and this summer work crews began to connect these residences to the city’s water system. The connection work is on track to be complete by the end of the month,” the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

“Perfluorinated compounds are found in Aqueous Film Forming Foam, which was used in firefighter training exercises at the Regional Fire Training Center at 1740 30th Ave., from 1984 to 2004,” the report continued.

One resident with a polluted well, John Mancuso, is calling on the city to waive water costs for those affected by contamination.

“We believe the city needs to provide water to us free of charge, for as long as our family owns this house,” Mancuso wrote in a letter to the council, per the newspaper. “This compensation would be little to our family, considering we have been drinking, bathing, and washing in the polluted water for decades with unknown contamination and health effects.”

This community is hardly alone. A study released this year by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Northeastern University in Boston shows PFCs are found in “drinking water for 15 million Americans in 27 states,” Time reported.

To read more about PFC problems visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.