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FAIRBANKS (AP) — An ordinance will be introduced in Fairbanks that would provide a water bill stipend for residents with contaminated water.
The ordinance, which will be introduced Monday at a City Council meeting, would appropriate $100,000 toward a stipend to help affected families pay their water bills.
A Fairbanks well was contaminated with a dangerous amount of perfluorinated compounds, affecting the water at a couple dozen properties, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Since the contamination, the city has provided clean water at no cost, and this summer, work crews began to connect the residences to the city’s water system. The work is expected to be completed by month’s end.
In May, Fairbanks resident John Mancuso asked the city to waive his water bill when his home was connected to the water utility.
“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 that was obtained by a public records request. “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.”
Studies have linked the perflourinated compound Pefluorooctanoic Acid to kidney, thyroid, ovarian, prostate and bladder cancer, according to the American Cancer Society’s website. Other adverse effects on health have been linked to perflourinated compounds. Although many communities nationwide have been affected by these contaminates, there are still questions concerning the long-term effects of perflourinated compounds.
“It’s shocking,” Mancuso said. “We’ve potentially been drinking it since the ‘80s, depending on how fast it seeped into the groundwater. It’s really hard to say — my wife had ovarian cancer. We don’t know. There just hasn’t been enough studies.”
Mancuso’s daughter, Fatima, also had a bout with ovarian cancer.
“I have two kids,” Fatima said. “When I was pregnant I was chugging that water. My son was born with a low birthweight, 5 pounds. Could it hurt his IQ? Give him developmental problems? I don’t know what the affects will be.”