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Site Report: Atka AF Auxiliary Airfield

Site Name: Atka AF Auxiliary Airfield
Address: Atka Island at Nazan Bay, Cape Kudugnak Radio Relay, Atka, AK 99547
File Number: 2513.38.004
Hazard ID: 3800
Status: Active
Staff: Darren Mulkey,
Latitude: 52.219500
Longitude: -174.213000
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.


Reports of buried drums containing petroleum products under or near the village tank farm and documented fuel contamination in soil. Xylenes detected in a surface water sample from Korovin Lake (near FUDS disposal area A). CERCLIS ID AKN001002274. Cape Kudugnak is about 5 miles from the airfield and served as a radio relay station in support of the base (separate site...). The Atka Air Force Auxiliary Field was used by the Army Air Force and the Navy between 1942 and 1945 during WWII. Military facilities were abandoned in place after the war. In 1985, the Corps of Engineers contracted with Chris Berg Inc. to cleanup the formerly used defense site (FUDS). Buildings were demolished and debris was disposed of in three landfills (identified as landfills A, B and C). A former motor pool building and a former generator building are identified as separate contaminated sites in the database. This site listing covers the larger Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) and including the landfills, the reported drums noted above, and any other contamination or wastes from prior military use of the area.

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
5/2/1995 Update or Other Action DEC received a US Coast Guard situation report describing its response to a report of sheen entering marine waters. Valves on fuel tanks owned by the village were found to be leaking and were repaired. They noted approximately 250 WWII era drums around the village and stated that many had leaked their contents and others were still full. John Halverson
12/1/1995 Update or Other Action DEC received a Draft Landfill Closure Report from the Corps of Engineers. It describes cleanup work done in 1986 as including removal of Quonset huts and other buildings, 150 cubic yards of asbestos containing material, drums and fuel tanks, fuel pipelines that were visible, marsten matting (runway matting) that was visible and the old pier. John Halverson
6/10/1998 Update or Other Action Staff reviewed and commented on a draft Site Inspection workplan prepared by the Corps. The Corps planned to conduct limited sampling to rank the site using the DOD relative risk ranking model. John Halverson
8/8/1998 Update or Other Action The Corps provided DEC Preliminary Trip Report Notes from the Atka Site Inspection. Solid waste from the '86 cleanup disposal sites B and C is partially exposed due to wind erosion. Petroleum contaminated soil was observed at a former power plant building foundation and a former motor pool building foundation. Residents had pointed out areas of concern including old military drums that were reportedly buried beneath the village tank farm area and a disposal site near the village dock. John Halverson
1/23/2002 Preliminary Assessment Approved Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) site inspection report received. A records review and site visit were conducted. Metal and other debris were observed protrudinng from landfills B and C, a reported fuel disposal area south of the village along Puganax Creek was inspected and limited soil/surface water sampling conducted - ~100 drums were reportedly buried when a nearby bluff sloughed and covered them. Approx 20 drums were observed during the inspection, one within 50' of the creek and bay was leaking a black oily substance. A soil sample from stained soil contained 27,000 mg/kg RRO, 4800 mg/kg DRO, 0.15 mg/kg benzene, several SVOCs and low level inorganics. One sediment and surface water sample were collected from Korovin Lake, near Disposal Site A and a former WWII hospital complex that has been demolished. The water sample contained low level xylenes (0.37 ug/L). A disposal site near Dock Creek contained metal floats from antisubmarine netting; orange precipitated was observed on te streambed. One sediment sample was collected from the creek and contained low level inorganics. A sediment/soil sample from a drywell/sump at the former motor pool building pad contained pentachlorophenol at 860 ug/kg. Bruce Wanstall
6/24/2002 Update or Other Action Attended meeting with the COE, DOT, and FAA. The DOT is intending to expand the runway and apron area in 2003. They are planning on acquiring the project property and current airport site fee simple from the Axtam Native Corporation. The DOT is soliciting guidance from the ADEC on the environmental concerns at the site (COE RP). They believe all the known impacted areas (three disposal sites, former generator building and motorpool) can be avoided, except perhaps the motorpool site. Bruce Wanstall
7/2/2002 Update or Other Action DEC accompanied DOT, USFW, Corps and SHPO staff on a site inspection trip to Atka to assist in coordination on an upcoming airport improvement project. DOT is considering acquiring more property around the airport and is concerned about contaminants and solid waste in the area related to the Formerly Used Defense Site. Marsten matting and other solid waste were observed eroding from the landfill sites. Stained soil observed in the Snow removal equipment building. John Halverson
8/26/2002 Site Characterization Workplan Approved DEC approved a Site Characterization Workplan, prepared by Oasis Environmental for AK DOT. John Halverson
11/19/2002 Site Characterization Report Approved DEC received the final site characterization report prepared by Oasis Environmental for AK DOT. Soil and groundwater samples collected during this assessment did not exceed applicable cleanup levels with the exception of selenium in one soil sample. The assessment did not characterize the entire area. DOT does not plan further work at this site since it is not on State land, potential contamination appears minimal and the site will not affect the airport improvement project. John Halverson
1/14/2003 Update or Other Action The Corps of Engineers submitted a draft Inventory Project Report to DEC proposing Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) projects to investigate and remove any remaining military underground storage tanks, 55 gallon drums, to evaluate military responsibility for oil/grease drums (some of which were buried when the adjacent bluff sloughed) at Pugankix Creek, and to abandon the dry well at the former generator or motor pool building. DEC replied via email that investigation into potential munitions or explosives of concern may also be warranted and the DEC does not concur further investigation for military munitions is not warranted. John Halverson
1/24/2003 Site Added to Database Atka AF Auxiliary Airfield expanded into a total of four unique sites from the original. John Halverson
6/29/2004 Site Characterization Report Approved DOT has conducted property acquisition studies and assessment work around the Atka airport. Near an old WWII motor pool building, previous site samples had detected low levels of mercury in the immediate vicinity of the foundation. ADOT&PF is planning to acquire the property within fifty feet south, east, and north of the building foundation. Airspace improvements require excavation into the soils comprising the hillside approximately 100 feet east of the motor pool foundation. Two additional samples and one duplicate were collected and analyzed from this area and mercury was not detected above method reporting limits. DOT should be able to proceed with excavation plans without having to conduct further characterization or waste management with respect to soil near the motorpool. Test pits were dug to follow up on geophysical survey work conducted in 2002 that indicated ares with potential buried drums. One test pit did contain partially buried drums, but they were did not contain liquids and were partially or completely full of sand. Other pits contained solid waste and clay with various aggregates that likely produced the GPR anomolies. John Halverson
6/18/2008 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed. Evonne Reese
8/18/2008 Site Number Identifier Changed File number changed from 2513.38.001 to 2513.38.004 per John Halverson. Nicole Hurt
10/7/2014 Meeting or Teleconference Held While meeting with USACE and contractors to discuss remediation/investigation at Cape Kudugnak USACE announced that Atka AF Auxiliary Airfield will be addressed during the 2015 field season. Planning for this activity is beginning. Scoping meetings will be held. Guy Warren
1/28/2015 Meeting or Teleconference Held Attended TPP meeting for Remedial Investigation at Atka Auxiliary Airfield. The USACE has conducted Historical Photo Analysis and extensive GIS interpretation. Plan for 2015 is to perform reconnaissance of all former structures associated with the facility. The reconnaissance will allow USACE to identify and prioritize areas for future investigation and remediation activity. The RI is planned to occur in three phases (2015 through 2017). Guy Warren
6/2/2015 Update or Other Action Submit comments to USACE on the Phase I RI work plan for the Atka AFAA FUDS. Comments focused on using consistent terminology and a lack of inspections for the landfills created during the 1980's. Guy Warren
4/21/2016 Site Visit ADEC, Ahtna, and APIA visited the project site in Atka. A public meeting was held at the Atka School from 4:30-5:45pm. Ahtna gave a PowerPoint presentation on Phase II RI site work proposed for summer 2016; the community was in support of the project. Ahtna provided ADEC with the Draft Phase II RI Work Plan. Holly Weiss-Racine
7/8/2016 Report or Workplan Review - Other ADEC approved the “Phase II HTRW Remedial Investigation Work Plan – Atka Air Force Auxiliary Field FUDS”. Although there were no major issues with the work plan, field work for the Phase II investigation began in late May, prior to work plan approval. The objective of Phase II work is to investigate the 352 features determined to have evidence of potential environmental impacts identified during the Phase I(2015). Phase II will identify the presence/absence of contamination at each of the 352 sites. If time allows, contamination will be delineated. The majority of contamination delineation is proposed for the Phase III (anticipated in 2017). Holly Weiss-Racine
7/21/2016 Report or Workplan Review - Other ADEC approved the Final Phase I RI Report; Phase II of the RI is ongoing. Holly Weiss-Racine
6/8/2017 Report or Workplan Review - Other ADEC received and reviewed the Draft 2016 Phase II HTRW Remedial Investigation Report, Atka Air Force Auxiliary Field, FUDS, May 2017. This report provides the results of an RI completed at 352 features of assessment (FOAs), presents a preliminary conceptual site model (CSM), and introduces planning considerations for Phase III RI activities. Darren Mulkey
6/28/2017 Report or Workplan Review - Other ADEC received and reviewed the Phase III HTRW Remedial Investigation Work Plan Addendum, Atka Air Force Auxiliary Filed, FUDS, June 2017. This Phase III RI is essentially an extension of the Phase II RI work that was not completed in 2016. The objective of Phase III RI is to complete the investigation started in 2016 under Phase II. This planning document is an addendum to the Phase II HTRW Remedial Investigation Work Plan, Atka Air Force Auxiliary Field, July 2016 (Phase II Work Plan). Data gaps identified in the 2016 Phase II RI Report are carried forward into the Phase III RI Work Plan for resolution. Darren Mulkey

Contaminant Information

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