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Site Report: Tazlina Copper Valley School

Site Name: Tazlina Copper Valley School
Address: Former Copper Valley School, In the village of Tazlina which is south of Glennallen, Glennallen, AK 99588
File Number: 2260.57.001
Hazard ID: 25429
Status: Cleanup Complete
Staff: ,
Latitude: 62.047510
Longitude: -145.403060
Horizontal Datum:WGS84

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.


The Native Village of Tazlina submitted a Brownfield Assessment Request form in 2009 for the Former Copper Valley School. The site consists of about 60 acres purchased from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1953 for the construction of a Mission School. The site served as a school and boarding school for 15 years until 1971 when it was closed. The property changed hands, and in 1976 fire destroyed the main buildings and over the years the remaining onsite structures have deteriorated. The property returned to the former owner and remained abandoned since that time. The area has had private housing development near it and the burned buildings have become a common play area for children. Potential contaminant concerns to the community included asbestos, unknown powder and granular substances stored at the site, releases from heating oil tanks, and various uncontrolled dumps (one includes lead-acid batteries and paint containers) that may affect the Copper River. Subsequent assessment activities through the DEC's Reuse & Redevelopment Program and EPA's Targeted Brownfield Assessment Program indicated that contaminant releases to soil and groundwater were minimal, yet a significant concern was associated with exposure to uncontrolled friable asbestos from insultation and wall board, which led to an emergency action. Activities to address this concern were initiated in spring 2013 and the site was cleaned up in its entirety, and all debris and structures removed. The only remaining contaminants of concern at the primary property were determined to be negligible. A separate site was established (Tazlina River Dumpsite, file no. 2260.38.001) was created to document a Notice of Environmental Contamination on the deed, as small amount of lead contamination was identified but left in place to help mitigate potential erosion. Referenced site - Tazlina River Dumpsite, file no. 2260.38.001, Haz ID 26337

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
7/13/2009 Site Added to Database A new site has been added to the database Deborah Williams
8/3/2009 Brownfields Award Notice to proceed was awarded to Oasis through SPAR term contract. Project managed under Reuse and Redevelopment Program. Deborah Williams
8/13/2009 Update or Other Action DEC received a response from the Alaska State Historic Perservation Office (SHPO) for the assessment work planned for FY2011 that there is "No Historic Properties Affected." Deborah Williams
9/2/2009 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC held a stakeholder meeting for the Copper Valley School in Tazlina. The participants for the meeting included representatives from the Church (landowner), the community of Tazlina, DEC and Oasis (consultant for the project). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the objective for the work planned at the site (Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan) and to give the consultant and the community an opportunity to ask any questions pertaining to the field work. Deborah Williams
9/19/2009 Site Visit Oasis, consultant representing DEC, conducted a site visit for 3 days to collect information for a property assessment and cleanup plan. Deborah Williams
12/31/2009 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received a copy of the Draft PACP for the Copper Valley School Site in Tazlina. Based on the information collected during the property assessment, OASIS identified the following potential sources: Dumpsites eroding into the Tazlina River; Aboveground dumpsites with potentially hazardous material such as automotive batteries, refrigerators, freezers, and drums; ACM; Area with pallets likely containing paint cans, and buckets with unknown contents near the pallets;crates of unknown powder; one UST; Shop building; potential lead-based paint; and sewer and drainage system/leach field. Deborah Williams
5/25/2010 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC received the final Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan report for this project. Sonja Benson
3/21/2011 Meeting or Teleconference Held A teleconference meeting was held to discuss follow-up to the DEC Brownfield Assessment(DBA)that was conducted at the former Copper Valley School in Tazlina in 2009. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Native Village of Tazlina (NVT), who originally requested the DBA, the Copper Valley Alumni Association, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), DEC, and EPA. Since the Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan (PACP) was completed, this was the first formal discussion with the stakeholders to determine the next steps to cleaning up and reusing the school property. It was decided at the end of the meeting that the next step would be an application, if approved by their respective governing bodies, from Tazlina and the Alumni Association to EPA for a Targeted Brownfield Assessment, with assistance from ANTHC and DEC. Sonja Benson
6/22/2011 Site Visit DEC and EPA staff visited the site during a trip to the Copper River Valley for a meeting of the Copper River Native Association, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Ahtna Corporation, members of the Tazlina, Chitina, Gulkana, Gakona, and Cheesh'na (Chistochina) Tribal governments, DEC, and EPA. Proximity of private homes to the old school site pose risks to public safety and potential exposure to environmental contaminants. Site is a top community concern for the area. Sonja Benson
6/24/2011 Update or Other Action DEC received a copy of a resolution by the Copper Valley Education and Cultural Center corporation approving an application, in coordination with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, to EPA for a Targeted Brownfield Assessment, to gather more information including collection of analytical environmental samples. The ultimate goal of the project is to restore the land for new use as an Alaska Native Cultural Site to present cultural heritage education and Alaska Native cultural activites, and to develop a program to support educational advancement for Alaska Natives and the descendents of the student volunteers who attended the Copper Valley school. Sonja Benson
8/8/2011 Meeting or Teleconference Held A public meeting and brownfield vision-to-action event was held in Tazlina, during the annual reunion of the Copper Valley School Alumni group. The vision-to-action process is a service provided by EPA through a partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Members of the community and the alumni association participated in the meeting. The result will be an artist's rendering of the vision for the new cultural education center that is planned for the old burned down school site. The rendering will be provided and a teleconference held to discuss the results in the near future. Sonja Benson
8/30/2011 Update or Other Action EPA approved the request for a Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) of the site that was submitted by the Native Village of Tazlina and the Copper Valley School Alumni Association. EPA anticipates that initially under the TBA, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will be conducted. Based on observations and evaluation of the site, EPA will then develop a sampling approach. The next step will be a site visit by EPA and its contractor. Sonja Benson
9/21/2011 Site Visit EPA brownfield staff and their contractor visited the site as part of the Targeted Brownfield Assessment that was awarded in August. Sonja Benson
8/2/2012 Potentially Responsible Party/State Interest Letter John Carnahan
2/14/2013 Site Characterization Report Approved EPA Targeted Brownfield Assessment received. The primary concerns were asbestos and one small release from bucket of used motor oil stored in bucket (small residual staining) and is considered deminimus. Numerous samples were collected from across the site yielding minimal impacts. One lead sample collected at > 1,000 mg/kg was observed at a dumpsite, but the context of the sample and its relationship to the burned debris requires further evaluation - further evaluation is recommended in concert with debris management. Several samples collected across the site showed other metals (i.e. antimony, arsenic, chromium, copper) concentrations above cleanup levels; these concentrations may be associated with debris, or with background concentrations. Further evaluation is recommended. Dumpsite evaluations were non-remarkable, although further evaluation and management is recommended. PCBs were not detected in the burned debris. No groundwater impacts were detected. Another primary concern is uncontrolled dumping. John Carnahan
5/15/2013 Update or Other Action Earl Liverman with EPA indicates that EPA is writing up an action memorandum regarding asbestos cleanup at site. John Carnahan
5/29/2013 Update or Other Action Staff provides comments to EPA on action memo. Provide copies of PACP report and SHPO documents to EPA. John Carnahan
8/5/2013 Update or Other Action EPA is informed that the Archidocese of Anchorage will take lead on any cleanup activities at the site. Focus is primarily going to be on asbestos cleanup. John Carnahan
8/16/2013 Update or Other Action Staff received email from attorney for Archdiocese of Anchorage introducing themselves and informing us that they are moving forward with site work. They did not realize that we have been engaged on this project with historical knowledge. Provided them our contact information and brief history of site activities via email. John Carnahan
9/20/2013 Update or Other Action EPA indicates the asbestos abatement and removal of other hazardous material at the site should be completed within two weeks. Other demolition work and removal of debris should be completed within four weeks. Melinda Brunner
10/29/2013 Meeting or Teleconference Held Teleconference to review the results of the cleanup program. Earl Liverman, EPA Response Team Lead, led the participants through a summaryof the field activities and the results. Cleanup at the site is complete, with asbestos properly abated and removed, all buildings demolished and removed, multiple dumpsites cleaned up, and wells decommissioned. Other than asbestos and hazardous building material abatement, majority of work was not regulated under Contaminated Sites. Only one soil sample collected at depth exceeded lead cleanup levels. Site will be evaluated for closure on DEC database upon receipt of final report and analytical data. John Carnahan
11/6/2013 Update or Other Action Site status changed to "Active" since according to draft reports provided by EPA, there are lead, arsenic, and chromium impacted soils in place, post-cleanup, with concentrations above cleanup levels. Draft report indicates the arsenic and chromium concentrations are likely naturally occuring. A single soil sample at the Tazlina River Dumpsite within the property exhibited a concentration of 563 mg/kg of lead. The site will be evaluated for closure upon receipt of the final report. Melinda Brunner
11/7/2013 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed for source area id: 79535 name: Dump Site Melinda Brunner
2/4/2015 Cleanup Complete Determination Issued Outstanding issue associated with Tazlina River Dumpsite led to new site entered into database with Cleanup Complete determination with IC for that site only. This site receive Cleanup Complete. John Carnahan

Contaminant Information

Name Level Description Media Comments
DRO < Method 2 Most Stringent Soil

Control Type

Type Details
No ICs Required


Description Details
Advance approval required to transport soil or groundwater off-site.
Movement or use of contaminated material (including on site) in a manner that results in a violation of the water quality standards is prohibited (18 AAC 70)

Missing Location Data

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