Division of Spill Prevention and Response

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Site Report: City of Fairbanks Regional Fire Training Center Burn Pit


Site Name: City of Fairbanks Regional Fire Training Center Burn Pit
Address: 1710 30th Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701
File Number: 102.38.182
Hazard ID: 26309
Status: Active
Staff: Robert Burgess, 9074512153 robert.burgess@alaska.gov
Latitude: 64.821181
Longitude: -147.750245
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.


Problems/Comments

In 2014 a site investigation was conducted associated with the closure of the burn pit (a.k.a. combustible liquids pit) at the Fairbanks Regional Fire Training Center. The pit was constructed in 1987 and used for firefighting exercises for about 20 years. These exercises consisted of filling the pit with water, adding fuel (jet, diesel and/or gasoline) to float on water and then igniting and extinguishing fires. The pit is reported to have not been used for about 10 years. The pit can be identified from satellite imagery as a circular feature and is reported about 40 feet in diameter with a concrete rim, 2 feet of gravel, and a liner. To prepare the pit for decommissioning, samples were collected from standing water and sediment in the pit. Petroleum and perfluorinated compounds were detected in water. DEC recommended collection further characterization data before determining disposition of the contents of the pit as PCBs were reported as non-detect at elevated reporting limits and the solid material was not analyzed for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). PFCs were detected in the water samples collected from the pit. DEC recommended further site characterization to include sampling of soil and groundwater for petroleum and PFCs.



Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
11/13/2014 Site Added to Database A new site has been added to the database Mitzi Read
1/16/2015 Potentially Responsible Party/State Interest Letter PRP letter sent to City of Fairbanks. Robert Burgess
6/29/2015 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC reviewed and approved the Phase 2 site investigation work plan describing the installation and sampling of soil borings and well points around the burn pit. Robert Burgess
8/31/2015 Update or Other Action Site was moved from "unconfirmed" to "active" status, after receiving telephone call from consultant stating that perfluorinated compounds and diesel range organics were detected above advisory or cleanup levels in groundwater at the site. Robert Burgess
9/1/2015 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants, Shannon & Wilson, to discuss the recent detections of perfluorinated compounds and petroleum in groundwater beneath the burn pit. DEC requested a drinking water well search and additional investigation to characterize the extent of the contaminant plume as soon as possible. Robert Burgess
12/29/2015 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC reviewed the DRAFT Results of Off-Site Well Sampling report. An irrigation well at the Interior Girls Softball Association softball fields was sampled, as well as an existing monitoring well on Davis road near Peger. The irrigation well is 117 feet deep and sub-permafrost, while the monitoring well is screened at a depth of 40 feet. Both wells contained PFOA and PFOS at levels below the proposed DEC cleanup levels and the EPA public health advisory levels. Because the detections occurred at a fairly long distance from the site, DEC recommended beginning a drinking water well search immediately and delineating the contaminant plume as soon as possible. Robert Burgess
2/10/2016 Public Notice The City of Fairbanks sent notice to local news agencies about the drinking water well search in an attempt to ensure that residents are informed and will contact the City or DEC if they have drinking water wells. Letters, fact sheets, and well survey forms are being distributed to businesses and homeowners within the well search boundaries. Well sampling will begin next week. Robert Burgess
3/4/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants. Well sampling results indicate that all of the private wells tested contained PFOA and PFOS, however only one well contained PFOS in concentrations higher than the current EPA provisional health advisory level. The city will provide bottled water to this resident as well as several wells that have not yet been sampled near this residence and between the property in question and the source area. Additional wells in the area will be selected for sampling, and DEC stressed the importance of expanding well search areas to ensure protectiveness. Plume delineation will continue this summer as soon as well installation is practical. Robert Burgess
3/11/2016 Update or Other Action DEC received the proposed schedule for well sampling. Several additional wells within the initial search area have been selected for a round of sampling that will begin on Monday, March 14. Additional wells in the Peger road area may be sampled at later events, and plume delineation consisting of transects of wells of varying depths will take place this summer. Robert Burgess
3/25/2016 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with ETM completed for source area id: 79700 name: Burn Pit Robert Burgess
5/13/2016 Update or Other Action The consultant for the City of Fairbanks notified DEC that sample results from the last round of private well sampling are delayed due to problems with instrumentation at the analytical laboratory. An additional round of sampling is still scheduled to take place beginning May 16. Robert Burgess
5/20/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants to discuss the latest round of drinking water well sampling as well as the updated EPA Health Advisory levels published on May 19, 2016. The new Lifetime Health Advisory is set at 0.07 micrograms per liter (total PFOA+PFOS); at this level four additional wells that have been tested now exceed the health advisory concentration. Bottled water was already being provided to the homes near the fire training center, and deliveries will begin for the additional residence that exceeds current advisory levels, which is located roughly one mile from the training center. The city continues to work with DEC to move forward on additional well sampling and long-term monitoring plans as well as delineation of the contaminant plume. Robert Burgess
7/1/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants to discuss the most recent drinking water well sample results, bottled water deliveries, and long-term plans for delineating the PFC plume and providing drinking water to affected homes and businesses. Because of positive PFOA and PFOS detections, the well search and sampling continues to expand. Installation of monitoring wells for plume delineation is in the planning stages, and will include nested wells that are screened at several depths. Robert Burgess
7/21/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and Shannon & Wilson to discuss the latest sampling results and ongoing investigation as well as best methods for communicating with the public regarding the health risks and ongoing site work. Robert Burgess
8/10/2016 Update or Other Action DEC published information on the site on the contaminated sites site summary page. http://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/sites/FairbanksFireTrainingCenter.htm The page will be updated as site work progresses to provide accessible summaries to the public and concerned residences. Robert Burgess
8/11/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held A public meeting was held to discuss the history of the site, current investigation priorities, potential health effects and risk, and for general discussion with affected residents. Robert Burgess
8/19/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and Shannon & Wilson to discuss the most recent sampling results, site plans, and public information. Additional exceedances were noted in irrigation wells, and results from wells that were re-sampled showed significant fluctuation in concentrations of PFOS, with some wells increasing in concentration and some decreasing. Plans for plume delineation and long-term monitoring are underway; the city's current primary focus remains with drinking water well protection, while plans for monitoring well installation and plume delineation continue to be developed. Robert Burgess
9/28/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants to discuss the most recent sampling results (samples collected from drinking water wells in August 2016). Ten of the wells sampled had concentrations of PFOA+PFOS that exceeded the EPA health advisory level. The City is delivering bottled water to affected residents and is evaluating long-term and permanent solutions to provide clean drinking water. The City is also expanding their well search and continues to develop plans for plume delineation and the installation of monitoring wells. Robert Burgess
10/13/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and Shannon & Wilson to discuss the most recent drinking water well sample results (samples collected September 2016). Four additional exceedances were noted west of Peger Road near Picket Place. The City agreed to continue expanding its well search area and to include surface water samples from the gravel pits around Picket Place. The City noted that some recipients of bottled water are complaining that it is insufficient, and the City is looking into alternative temporary solutions including water coolers or filtration systems. It was agreed that another public meeting should be held to ensure that residents of the area west of Peger are informed and can raise their concerns with the City and DEC. Robert Burgess
11/17/2016 Meeting or Teleconference Held A public meeting was held to update residents of sampling efforts, plans to manage the plume and mitigate exposure, potential health risks, and to discuss concerns of residents. Robert Burgess
3/16/2017 Meeting or Teleconference Held DEC continues to hold meetings with the City and their consultants approximately once a month, or whenever additional sample results are received or significant progress reported. During the meeting on March 16, Shannon & Wilson reported sample results from the 8 wells tested in Well Search Area 10, just north of the Chena river between University Avenue and Loftus Road. All sample results were less than half of the Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level. In addition, plans for connecting homes exceeding the LHA to municipal water supplies and plans for interim removal actions at the regional fire training center were discussed. Quarterly sampling will continue for homes and businesses with drinking water wells that are not currently being connected to municipal water and have PFOA+PFOS concentrations at or exceeding one-half the concentration of the LHA level. Robert Burgess
7/27/2017 Update or Other Action DEC met with the City of Fairbanks and their consultants to discuss ongoing progress for the site. Excavation of the original burn pit, liner, and contaminated soil beneath the pit is planned to begin within the next week. Water main connections for homes and businesses with concentrations exceeding the lifetime health advisory level are underway; the City reports that 20 homes will be hooked up by the end of the week. Areas where water main extensions are required will take more time, but work is ready to begin as soon as funding is approved by the city council. Quarterly sampling of drinking water wells continues. The group agreed to hold another public meeting on August 24, 2017, following the City's suggestion. Robert Burgess

Contaminant Information

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