Superfund Sites in Reuse in Alaska

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Adak Naval Air Station

The 76,000-acre Adak Naval Air Station (NAS) is located on Adak Island, near the western end of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. United States military forces used Adak NAS as a key operations and supply location beginning in the early 1940s. Over a 40-year period, operators disposed of hazardous substances in areas on the island. These areas included landfills, storage areas, drum disposal areas, spill sites and pits for waste oil and fire-fighting training. Petroleum, solvents, batteries, transformer oils, unexploded explosive weapons that pose a risk of detonation and pesticides are some of the hazardous materials present. In 1993, the U.S. Navy agreed to clean up the NAS. In 1994, EPA listed the site on the Superfund program's National Priorities List (NPL). The U.S. Navy has since completed numerous cleanup actions. Some cleanup actions continue. The island is a federally designated wilderness area and is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. A wide variety of marine mammals and birds inhabit the near-shore areas. Officials allow access to remote areas, but restrictions are necessary due to the potential presence of undetonated explosive weapons. About 50 to 100 people reside on the island. Inhabitants use the area for hunting, fishing and recreational purposes. Commercial fish processing and tourism bring additional people to the island. In 2004, the United States government transferred 71,171 acres of Adak NAS from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). USFWS then exchanged 47,000 acres of the former Adak NAS property with the Aleut Corporation for other lands in the Aleutian Islands. The exchange provided the company with a well-developed city (i.e., all of the downtown area, housing units and industrial facilities) for economic reuse. In return, the Aleut Corporation transferred high quality marine bird habitat to USFWS for management within the refuge. The Alaska Department of Transportation received about 2,000 acres that include the airfield and support buildings and is responsible for airport operations. The Adak Reuse Corporation is marketing the island to commercial fishing fleets and other businesses operating in the area. Negotiations with Shell Oil Company are underway to lease residential units for the exploration of oil in the Chukchi and Bering Sea.
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Arctic Surplus

The Arctic Surplus Salvage Yard (ASSY) Superfund site is located 6 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska. ASSY consists of 5 parcels totaling about 24.5 acres. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) owned a portion of the site where it operated a landfill from 1944 to 1956. In 1959, DoD sold the site. It became a salvage yard for activities including battery cracking for lead recycling, transformer draining, ordnance and explosive scrap collection and more. In 1988, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation detected high concentrations of metals in the soil and found large amounts of asbestos on site. Local residents living around the site depend on an aquifer located just beneath the site for their water supplies. EPA added the site to the Superfund program's National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990, and immediately removed the asbestos, drums and contaminated soils. The DoD also began on-site soil treatment and isolated residual soil in a closed landfill covered with asphalt. DoD disposed of highly contaminated materials off site. Cleanup reached completion in 2005, and EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 2006. The same year, a private owner began leasing the asphalt-covered cap as a parking lot for vehicles and trailers.
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Fort Richardson (USARMY)

Fort Richardson is located in the City of Anchorage, Alaska. Constructed in 1940, Fort Richardson occupies a 56,000-acre area. Anchorage, Elmendorf Air Force Base, the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet, Chugach State Park and undeveloped lands surround the site. During World War II, the U.S. Army used the fort to defend Alaska against foreign invaders. Its current mission is to command and control Army forces in Alaska. Fort Richardson provides the services, facilities and infrastructure to support and train rapid deployment forces from Alaska to the Pacific theater. Past practices resulted in the contamination of soil, sludge, ground water and surface water. EPA listed Fort Richardson as a site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994. The U.S. Army signed a Federal Facilities Agreement with EPA and the state in 1994 to address site contamination. Five work areas, or operable units, at the site each contain and address a varying number of contaminated sub-areas. The U.S. Army has undertaken a number of early actions at many of the work areas and all sites are under long term monitoring to assess risk. One of the areas, the Eagle River Flats ordnance impact area, includes 2,500 acres of wetlands associated with the Eagle River delta. White phosphorous contaminated the wetlands, resulting in mortality to waterfowl during spring and fall migrations. Efforts to cleanup the white phosphorus have resulted in meeting the goal to reduce mortality to less than 1 percent of the migrating population of waterfowl. Additional areas are under investigation including the Nike Hercules missile site at a summit of the Chugach Mountain Range and three drum disposal sites on the base. The Nike Hercules missile site is on the National Historical Register; group in Anchorage is working with stakeholders to allow tours of the site for the public. In 2010, the federal government administratively merged EAFB and Ft. Richardson to become Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson under the command of the Air Force's 673d Air Base Wing.
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Ketchikan Pulp Company

Sawmill on the siteKetchikan Pulp CompanyThe Ketchikan Pulp Company site is located in Ward Cove, near Ketchikan, Alaska. The site includes a former pulp mill and about 160 acres of coastal areas. The Ketchikan Pulp Company began operating in 1954. The company directly released sulfite-contaminated pulp and wastewater into Ward Cove and surrounding tidelands. . High quantities of organic materials and wood pulp entered into Ward Cove. Over time, the organic materials created anaerobic conditions and began to affect local organisms. Fuels, paints and heavy metals from the facilities also contaminated upland areas. The company ended operations in 1997 and sold the property to Gateway Forest Products, who operated a lumber mill until 2001. EPA began investigating the site in the early 1990s and required the Ketchikan Pulp Company to conduct cleanup. Cleanup activities included dredging contaminated sediments for consolidation and capping; placing a cap of clean material over the dredged areas; and implementing long-term monitoring and institutional controls to protect the newly cleaned areas. Cleanup activities and construction ended in 2001. After Gateway Forest Products ended operations in 2001, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough obtained the property and surrounding areas. In 2004, the Borough and EPA signed an environmental easement and declaration of covenants. This agreement allows continued access for cleanup-related work and the Borough agrees to follow institutional controls for the site. The Borough subdivided the property into many parcels. The Alaska Department of Transportation and the Alaska Marine Highway System use portions of the site for administrative and engineering buildings and the harbor for marine vessels. Power Systems and Supplies, also operating as Ward Cove Industries, purchased the site and have leased existing warehouse and shop space to a number of timber and marine related commercial businesses. The new owners are aware of and complying with institutional controls at the site.
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Standard Steel & Metal Salvage Yard (USDOT)

The 6.2-acre Standard Steel & Metal Salvage Yard (USDOT) Superfund site is located in Anchorage, Alaska. Tucked away in an industrialized part of the city along the north side of lower Ship Creek, the site formerly operated as a metal salvage yard. The Federal Railroad Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, acquired the land in the 1920s. Metal recyclers and salvage operators used the site beginning in the mid-1950s until 1993. Activities from these operations resulted in soil and ground water contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lead. In 1990, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA and those responsible for the contamination cleaned up the site by removing some of the surface waste and treating, solidifying, and covering the remainder with a cap. EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 2002. The Alaska Railroad Corporation, the site owner, leases the majority of the site to K&T Enterprises. K&T Enterprises subleases the site for warehouse, truck maintenance and storage operations. Another company uses the remainder of the site for storing trailers and piles of steel.
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