- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - State environmental officials are trying to determine whether the water in a North Slope Borough village is safe to drink after reports that industrial drums were found in the town’s water source.

David Fauske, a spokesman for the borough, said there are several holding tanks of drinking water available for Point Lay residents and that the borough is considering building a pipeline to a new drinking water source.

“In response to community concerns that the water supply for the village of Point Lay may be contaminated, the North Slope Borough is taking immediate action to establish an alternative water supply for the community as investigators work to pinpoint and identify possible contaminants,” Fauske told KTUU-TV (https://bit.ly/2betxoU).

Candice Bressler, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, said the agency received an anonymous report about potential water contamination and that what appears to be drums have found been in the lake where Point Lay gets its drinking water.

“If the report is confirmed, then we would mobilize and work on identifying the responsible party,” Bressler said.

State environmental officials said the village’s public drinking water system is owned and operated by the North Slope Borough and is required to undergo regular testing.

“The borough’s first and foremost responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of its residents and is taking these concerns very seriously. Additional information will be distributed to the impacted community and general public as soon as it becomes available,” Fauske said.

A woman who answered the phone at the Native Village of Point Lay said she was not authorized to speak with the media.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, https://www.ktuu.com

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