Monitoring plan will test for PFAS in 193 Alaska communities

A state monitoring plan set to begin this summer will sample drinking water in 193 Alaska Native and disadvantaged communities’ public water systems for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said the program, announced on Monday, will be paid for by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Emerging Contaminants tribal drinking water grant. Samples are to be collected by trained local operators and sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.

The program is to be completed by 2024, according to DEC Commissioner Jason Brune. Data collected from these community public water systems will be used to work with the EPA to determine the next steps, he said.

EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller said the project will provide tribal and disadvantaged communities across Alaska with the opportunity to know if PFAS contamination is present in their drinking water. These contaminants are not yet regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“In this era of unprecedented funding for water infrastructure, armed with this information, these Alaskan communities will have access to resources available through the Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities grant program,” Sixkiller said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with DEC as they work to support Alaska Native and disadvantaged communities located in Alaska,” he said.


Identified spills or releases of PFAS into the environment in Alaska have to date been associated with use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) during firefighting fire training activities. DEC officials said scientific research indicates that PFAS are linked to a variety of adverse health effects.

PFAS is a collective term referring to a large and complex class of human-made compounds. PFAS have been widely used in numerous industrial and residential applications since the 1950s. Their stability and unique chemical properties produce waterproof, stain resistant, and nonstick qualities in products.