Flint Hills offers water filters to homes with sulfolane-tainted wells

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Thursday, September 30, 2010:

Flint Hills Resources unveiled in-home water treatment systems as a longer-term way to provide clean water to North Pole residents at a community meeting Tuesday night.

The filtration system is comprised of standard parts assembled specially to remove sulfolane. They are being tested during the next few months at five volunteer homes in North Pole with sulfolane readings between 50 parts per billion and 250 parts per billion, the full range found in private wells. After about two months, the system has proven to reduce sulfolane to non-detectable levels, said Flint Hills spokesman Jeff Cook.

“We’re hopeful that will be the final option we can offer people,” Cook said.

Flint Hills is continuing to clean up contamination that was discovered last year but happened years before the company bought the refinery in 2004. Sulfolane, a chemical used in refining oil, reportedly seeped into groundwater and private wells from gasoline spills last decade. Some water contains levels above those recommended by federal standards but much too low to make laboratory animals sick. Most of the tainted wells are outside North Pole city limits.