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Site Report: Amchitka - Top Camp

Site Name: Amchitka - Top Camp
Address: Mile 28 Infantry Road, Amchitka, AK 99546
File Number: 2512.38.001
Hazard ID: 1583
Status: Active
Staff: Wendy Hansen, 9072693059
Latitude: 51.600000
Longitude: 178.850000
Horizontal Datum:

We make every effort to ensure the data presented here is accurate based on the best available information currently on file with DEC. It is therefore subject to change as new information becomes available. We recommend contacting the assigned project staff prior to making decisions based on this information.


Four areas of scattered drums. Twelve of sixty-three reported to contain product by the FWS in 1993. Results of sampling indicate DRO in soil at two locations of 10,000 to 11,000 mg/kg. As of November 1999 there is some controversy over who is responsible for this site. N 51 degrees 35.70 minutes, E 178 degrees 51.10 minutes.

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
11/19/1999 Site Added to Database Four areas of scattered drums. Twelve of sixty-three reported to contain product by the FWS in 1993. Results of sampling indicate DRO in soil at two locations of 10,000 to 11,000 mg/kg. Jeff Brownlee
11/30/1999 Site Ranked Using the AHRM Initial ranking. Jeff Brownlee
4/18/2000 Update or Other Action Phase I RI - March 1998. Jeff Brownlee
4/18/2000 Update or Other Action Phase II RI - May 1999. Jeff Brownlee
4/18/2000 Update or Other Action Draft Proposed Plan submitted for review March 2000. Plan was unacceptable - did not address UXO and didn't adequately document the "subset representation" approach as applied to the closure of all similar sites as a whole. Plan assumed aquifer to be non-drinking water and did not include future monitoring of sites over cleanup levels. Jeff Brownlee
7/17/2000 Update or Other Action Staff (Dasher and Brownlee) prepared comments on the Draft MOU between the Navy, COE, DOE, FWS, A/PIA and ADEC. The MOU should be reviewed by the various agencies legal consoles this fall. Jeff Brownlee
8/27/2000 Update or Other Action Staff visited Amchitka with the FWS, DOE, and COE. Visited the majority of COE sites that still have potential issues and all the known DOE mudpits. Jeff Brownlee
11/14/2000 Meeting or Teleconference Held Scoping meeting for approach on OEW cleanup on the island. Approach will be similar to Adak, using a level 1 screening (archive search, aerial photos, ground truthing, etc.) and narrowing AOCs. Huntsville represented, (Bill Sargent) and the Alaska District. Jeff Brownlee
12/15/2000 Meeting or Teleconference Held Scoping meeting on the Proposed Plan. Attended by Suzanne B., Wayne Crayton, Claire Caldes, Jordan Stout, John Halverson, Jeff B. Discussed specific sites listed in site screening memorandum and what remedial or monitoring efforts we thought were necessary. Discussed drinking water status as non-drinking water with USFW ICs on using surface water for any future camp activity. Discussed general approach for rewriting the plan and explaining the rational to arrive at 15 sites from 270. COE needs to explain the use of environmental damage from proposed remedial action to justify no action. Jeff Brownlee
1/16/2001 Update or Other Action Staff reviewed an Ecological Assessment/FONSI for the work to be performed this summer on the island. The Corps of Engineers produced the EA/FONSI for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ADEC agreed that no significant impact would result from the multi-agency cleanup planned for this summer. Major work includes the DOE stabilizing the drilling mudpits and the Navy demolishing a number of buildings including the ROTHR facility, and performing a cleanup action at the sewage lagoon. Jeff Brownlee
2/9/2001 Update or Other Action Staff prepared a Request for Proposal for term-contractor review of an Ordinance and Explosive Waste (OEW) workplan for Amchitka Island. The COE, Huntsville District produced the workplan. The investigation will consist of geophysical and visual screening of several areas of concern across the island. Approximately six OEW disposal and burn site locations are known at the base camp area on Amchitka. Previous OEW cleanup work was conducted by the Navy in 1986 at several of the known OEW sites. Currently visitors are restricted from visiting the island, but as these restrictions are eliminated, a higher level of confidence will be needed to ensure a thorough OEW screening and removal effort has been done. Jeff Brownlee
2/22/2001 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a public meeting on an Unexploded Ordinance cleanup planned for Amchitka this summer. The COE, Huntsville District, and their contractor, Parsons Engineering, presented an overview of UXO sites on the island and the work planned. The work will include visual and geophysics screening of 12 areas of concern. Some as area such as bombing or shooting ranges will be screened over large areas. Other sites, such as UXO disposal or burn areas are more defined and will be screened more thoroughly. Jeff Brownlee
4/11/2001 Update or Other Action Staff prepared contracted comments on an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) report for unexploded ordinance (UXO) work on Amchitka Island. The COE Huntsville (Rock Island District) prepared the EE/CA after a 5-day site visit and brief investigation on the island last summer (August 2000). The EE/CA report is usually prepared after a more thorough investigation with a detailed workplan, so the Technical Planning Process that is normally followed on UXO jobs has been circumvented at this site. A workplan for a more extensive investigation this summer is currently being produced. The ADEC will request another EE/CA report be produced after this summers investigation, which should put the process back on track. The investigation will focus on several known unexploded ordinance disposal areas on the island. There are also several larger areas where there was artillery or bombing practice ranges that will be investigated. Jeff Brownlee
4/26/2001 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a comment resolution meeting on an EE/CA report for the Unexploded Ordnance work on Amchitka Island. Discussion centered on the preliminary nature of the report and the need to do another EE/CA report. Sites that were considered for No Further DoD Action Indicated (NDAI) will need to be adequately documented as complete or investigated further. An island wide investigation is planned for this summer. Jeff Brownlee
5/2/2001 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a public meeting for the cleanup on Amchitka. Public interest focused on the historic worker health issues and the potential health issues for workers at the cleanup this summer. Jeff Brownlee
6/15/2001 Proposed Plan Staff prepared comments on a draft Proposed Plan for the Corps of Engineers World War II sites on Amchitka. The Proposed Plan explains the investigation and cleanup strategy agreed to between the COE, ADEC and the land manager, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The "subset" approach was used for the majority of over 250 possible sites on the island. The most visually contaminated sites in like groupings (drum dumps, tanks farms, etc.) were investigated and used to represent the remaining sites that were not investigated. Institutional controls will need to be agreed to with the USFWS for several sites with residual contamination and for future groundwater use. To be protective of possible contaminated groundwater the ADEC is requesting the IC for areas on the island with historic activity. The island hydrogeology is generally shallow unconsolidated soils/aquifer (sheet flow) overlying bedrock. The bedrock aquifer was not characterized except in a few boreholes at the nuclear testing areas. Unexploded ordinance was not addressed in this plan. Jeff Brownlee
7/31/2001 Update or Other Action Staff visited the island and performed site inspections at various sites being cleaned up by the Navy, Department of Energy and the Corps of Engineers. The three agencies are conducting a joint cleanup effort this summer and sharing the cost of mobilization and support. There are currently about 100 people on the island with full camp facilities. The DOE is making good progress on the drilling mud pits from the nuclear drilling program in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There are six separate sites that include eleven mud pits. Currently the DOE contractors are working on drill site D, which includes the three largest mud pits and the Longshot site, which has the most contaminated mud pits. The contractors are mixing sands and gravel with the drill muds and closing the pits in-place. A 30-mil liner is being placed over the mixed soil and a soil cap placed over that and seeded. The muds are impacted with DRO and chromium. The Navy is making good progress on the sewage lagoon cleanup in spite of some technical problems. The lagoon was contaminated with PCBs at levels up to 400 mg/kg. Approximately 1200 cubic yards of sludge is being slurried off and put through a centrifuge. The solids are then dried in thermal dryer for transport off the island. The fluids are treated through an engineered water treatment system and discharged on-site. The Corps of Engineers is conducting an Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) investigation at various sites on the island. The work involves screening with EM-61 detectors and magnetometers for UXO. Several items that have had to be "blown in-place" have been found so far. Locations for study have been determined by historical records and aerial photographs and documented in a report called an Archive Search Report. Jeff Brownlee
9/17/2001 Update or Other Action Staff compiled contractor comments on a COE Huntsville Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) Workplan. This EE/CA workplan was a follow-up document to an EE/CA report produced last fall that did not conform to Huntsvilles' own Technical Planning Process (TPP). The reviewed workplan was for work performed on the island this summer. The characterization process for the work performed was not adequate. Additional investigation will need to be performed at a variety of areas. Areas of concern were frequently reduced in size over previous area boundaries. Transect spacing for the geophysics was often much wider than necessary for a confident coverage based on the various weapons delivery systems known to have been used on Amchitka. Jeff Brownlee
3/18/2002 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a comment resolution meeting on the COE Proposed Plan for sites on Amchitka Island. The Proposed Plan has presented some unique challenges. The cleanup strategy scoped in the mid 1990’s used a “subset” approach that allowed visual assessment of a grouping of similar sites such as AST locations in a former tank farm. The most visually impacted areas were then followed up with a sampling investigation. The DEC requested some additional text to ensure the public that the DEC has confidence in the protectiveness of the investigation. About 12 sites remain to be addressed with further work or monitoring. Staff also participated in a planning meeting for unexploded ordinance on Amchitka. The COE Huntsville district performed an investigation in 2001 on the island. Several hundred UXO items were identified and cleaned up, mostly 20-mm projectiles. Several hundred rounds of small arms ammunition were also found and disposed of. The State is requesting that the COE Huntsville not use the EE/CA approach for UXO work and use the more formalized RI/FS process. The RI/FS process should help ensure that UXO cleanups are periodically reviewed after the main field effort and that there is adequate public involvement. Jeff Brownlee
6/10/2002 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a meeting with the Army Cops of Engineers (COE) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to discuss the Ordnance and Explosive Waste (OE) work done last summer on the island. The report has been delayed because of ADEC concern over the COE relying solely on removal actions to address OE. Staff has requested the COE use the more comprehensive remedial action process with proposed plans and decision documents. The COE argued that its’ contract and Army Regulation specifies that they need to use a removal action. We agreed that they should prepare and submit a draft engineering evaluation/cost analysis (EE/CA) to all parties so we can share the information gathered during the fieldwork last summer. We emphasized that we will want to ensure a decision document is jointly signed before conducting a removal action and that due to the extent of OE concerns we will be looking for a transition from removal to remedial action. Jeff Brownlee
7/9/2002 Meeting or Teleconference Held Staff participated in a scoping meeting for a draft EE/CA report for OE work done on the island in 2001. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, COE Alaska District, Huntsville District and the ADEC attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to agree on the components to produce an EE/CA report that would meet the criteria of the RI/FS process. Historical information will be included in a background chapter including information from the Archive Search Report, Technical Engineering Center Historical Photo analysis and miscellaneous information. The report will reevaluate the DQOs to include any new information. The conceptual site model will also be updated and include land use information and institutional controls that will be necessary. Jeff Brownlee
10/30/2003 Update or Other Action CS staff reviewed an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) for Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) work done on Amchitka in 2001 by the Corps of Engineers (Huntsville). The EE/CA was also reviewed by a term contractor and their comments are incorporated in the review comments. Approximately 62 acres were geophysically surveyed on Areas of Interest (AOI) identified in the Archive Search Report and during a site visit by Hunstville in 2000. 2,453 anomalies were intrusively investigated. Of these, 12 were UXO, 149 were small arms ammo, 556 were ordnance related scrap and the rest metal scrap. The conclusions, recommendations and prospect of future work will need further discussion between the stakeholders including the DEC, Aleutian/Pribilof Island Association, COE and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which is the land manager for the island. Jeff Brownlee
12/17/2003 Meeting or Teleconference Held CS staff participated in a meeting for the Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) work on Amchitka Island. The Corps of Engineers Huntsville District and Alaska District, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and the DEC’s technical consultant participated in the meeting. We agreed to call the report produced for the 2001 UXO investigation and removal a work summary report. The COE will then produce a separate EE/CA document that will specify the recommendations for future work at each Area of Interest (AOI). The EE/CA will contain the substantive components of a RI/FS document and including public participation. We anticipate another field effort in 2005 or 2006. The work will be combined with any remaining HTW work on the island. Jeff Brownlee
4/13/2004 Update or Other Action Still controversy on which agency is the RP for this site. This is one of the few sites that wasn't addressed during the 2001 island wide cleanup. CS staff in conjuction with Fish & Wildlife is looking into the issue of including the site on the COE proposed plan or if the site should be addressed by the DOE. Jeff Brownlee
4/14/2008 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed. Jeff Brownlee
2/2/2011 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed for source area id: 72561 name: Drum Group - DRO and PAH in soil Bianca Reece

Contaminant Information

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