FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Residents of towns near Fairbanks have been talking to state officials about possible arsenic contamination of private wells where they live, the Fairbanks News-Miner reports.

The residents of Goldstream, Ester, Two Rivers, Murphy Dome and other areas have talked about their concerns in recent weeks with officials from the state departments of Health and Human Services, Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

To safeguard health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the acceptable level of arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion. Other limits include 100 ppb for watering gardens and livestock, and 500 ppb for bathing.

The water at the Ester fire station tested in excess of 9,000 parts per billion, which meant it was not safe to drink, cook with or bathe in, Cindy Christian of the Department of Environmental Conservation told the News-Miner. The station took the contaminated well offline and installed a 3,000 gallon holding tank, which is filled by a water delivery company, said duty officer Rilen Skieens.

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