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Site Report: White Pass & Yukon Railroad Yard

Site Name: White Pass & Yukon Railroad Yard
Address: NE of 23rd Avenue Bridge, at Terminus of State St., Skagway, AK 99840
File Number: 1526.38.005
Hazard ID: 400
Status: Active
Staff: Erin Gleason, 9072697556
Latitude: 59.467800
Longitude: -135.297500
Horizontal Datum:NAD83

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.


Historical Interim Removal excavation of contaminated soil was transported to and remediated at an off-site location, thereby reducing pathway exposure risk. Remaining subsurface soil and groundwater contamination is monitored by periodic sampling and reporting. In 2014, DEC approved the Site Investigation and Environmental Monitoring Report documenting sampling results from 2013 site activity. Sampling resumed in 2014 of the historically placed wells and, in addition, ten newly installed monitoring wells to more closely investigate inconsistent chlorinated hydrocarbon soil and groundwater contamination in the north and west areas of the property. Based on information currently available, site cleanup has controlled migration of contamination in groundwater off-site to the southwest. A system of air sparge/vapor extraction system wells, completed to depths of 50 feet BGS and positioned southwest of the rail yard source areas, operated during the summer months of 2000 and 2001. Surficial and subsurface soil contamination on the rail yard property has consisted of free phase petroleum and petroleum hydrocarbon compounds, heavy metals and solvents. Historical sources of contamination associated with facility operations generally removed from the site include degreasers, solvents, waste scrap metal, waste batteries, heavy metal ores, and the storage of chemically treated railroad ties processed into chips. Whole railroad ties and landspread sediments remain. The site is located 2,300 feet horizontal up river and up gradient of the Skagway drinking water municipal wells which is beyond the two year capture zone for the source aquifer. The depth of the aquifer is estimated to extend 50 feet below the ground surface. Although historical sampling of the municipal well detected concentrations of chlorinated hydrocarbons below maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), a direct link to the rail yard or any other source upgradient is not established. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ID AKSFN1002184; EPA site name Skagway Railroad Yard.

Action Information

Action Date Action Description DEC Staff
9/1/1973 Update or Other Action (Old R:Base Action Code = PER - Permit Action at Site). Application for solid waste disposal permit to ADEC. Permit # SER 4-73 issued. No Longer Assigned
6/1/1983 Update or Other Action (Old R:Base Action Code = FI - Field Inspection (General)). City water supply wells sampled. Contained up to 4.5 ppb trichloroethane. Source not identified. No Longer Assigned
11/9/1986 Preliminary Assessment Approved Tryck, Nyman and Hayes, "Suspected Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Site Inspections, White Pass and Yukon Railroad Maintenance Yard, Skagway, Alaska." Surficial soils contaminated from volatile organic compounds (VOC) and heavy metals. No Longer Assigned
6/10/1987 Update or Other Action (Old R:Base Action Code = FI - Field Inspection (General)). ADEC sampled water from City Hall in Skagway. Trichloroethene present below MCL. Barium below reporting limit. No Longer Assigned
8/6/1987 Update or Other Action (Old R:Base Action Code = FI - Field Inspection (General)). City wells sampled. Well 1 - chlorinated compounds up to 1.4 ppb (trichloroethene), Well 3 - chlorinated compounds up to 3.1 ppb (trichloroethene). No Longer Assigned
9/12/1989 Enforcement Action Compliance order by consent between White pass transportation, pacific arctic railway and navigation company, Skagway terminal company, and ADEC. Erin Gleason
4/20/1990 Site Ranked Using the AHRM Initial ranking. No Longer Assigned
8/26/1993 Site Added to Database Surficial soil contamination by chlorinated organic compounds and heavy metals. No Longer Assigned
10/11/1994 Interim Removal Action Approved (Old R:Base Action Code = SC - Site Control (Emergency Response)). Four spill events were addressed by ADEC staff who provided TA and oversight. Spills occurred at the four following pipeline locations: 1.5 mile (Pullen Creek gasoline), 6 mile, 9 mile HW dump, and 12 mile. No Longer Assigned
12/22/1994 Update or Other Action Monitoring data by responsible party (RP) continues on quarterly basis. No Longer Assigned
2/17/1995 Update or Other Action Received quarterly monitoring data from White Pass. Randy Rice
11/17/1995 Site Ranked Using the AHRM This site was re-ranked: Quantity Value was modified because quantity is unknown. The original value chosen was >1 acre. This value does not accurately reflect contamination quantity. Groundwater Exposure Index Value was changed from 0.4 (unknown) to 2.0 (documented contamination not exceeding the MCL). Sally Schlichting
2/8/1996 Update or Other Action Contacted municipal water operator for municipal VOC data; discussed long-term monitoring by White Pass, other sources of contamination and whether remediation will be undertaken. White Pass monitoring data requested for last two years was received in January 1996. Sally Schlichting
7/14/1998 Update or Other Action Site visit report and follow-up action requested. Sally Schlichting
8/4/1998 Cleanup Plan Approved Source removal; air sparge; soil vapor extraction plus biocell. Sally Schlichting
9/3/1998 Update or Other Action SVE pilot study approved. Sally Schlichting
12/8/1999 Update or Other Action Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) # AKSFN1002184. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) Trip Report, no samples taken. EPA anticipates further investigation under the Federal Superfund Program. Bruce Wanstall
1/3/2003 Update or Other Action Consultant (Gary Hamilton with Golder Associates) has been contacted several times in the past year regarding a report of the activities at the railroad yard over the past 4 years. In December 2002, he stated that a report would be submitted soon. Anne Marie Palmieri
5/23/2003 Update or Other Action Staff requests report, again. Anne Marie Palmieri
2/6/2004 Update or Other Action Staff reviewed and commented on the Cleanup Action Report. Staff requested additional characterization and reinstallation of the air sparging system. Downgradient wells still show elevate levels of TCE. Anne Marie Palmieri
5/19/2004 Site Characterization Workplan Approved Workplan for additional characterization approved this date. Anne Marie Palmieri
6/4/2004 GIS Position Updated Obtained Global Positioning System (GPS) reading. Bill Janes
6/4/2004 Update or Other Action Project manager transition site visit. Bill Janes
9/22/2004 Update or Other Action Cost recovery (CR) check received by Department of Law (DOL) for $2,347.49 Bill Janes
10/22/2004 Update or Other Action Emailed Ian Hers at Golder regarding the September 2004 interim cleanup report. A number of issues need to be resolved. Meeting with Golder and White Pass will be arranged following compilation of the fall data collection effort. Bill Janes
3/9/2005 Update or Other Action Reviewed the October 2004 monitoring report received March 5. TCE concentrations show a statistical downward trend except in MW98-1. Additional test pitting to occur in this area in the spring. Re-instatement of the SVE/AS system appears unnecessary at this time. Bill Janes
7/15/2006 Update or Other Action Soil vapor survey conducted this date in the vicinity of MW98-1 to futher assess the source of the elevated TCE. Results indicate there may be a potential shallow source of TCE and PCE that merits further investigation. Bill Janes
9/5/2006 Update or Other Action Site visit. Looked at area near MW-98-1 where TCE shows an increasing trend. Soil vapor probes being installed this week. Remediation likely in the area based on initial soil vapor probe installations in July 2006. Free product in MW97-3 outside the main shop is likely due to a source beneath the shop. Monitoring to be reduced to annually based on the results of this October sampling. Bill Janes
9/5/2006 Update or Other Action Received latest monitoring data from Golder from 7/16/06 sampling event. TCE above cleanup levels in MW-2HC,MW98-1, MW97-6M. AS-2. Bill Janes
1/10/2007 Update or Other Action Results of soil vapor survey in the vicinity of MW-98 conducted September 2006 received this date. TCE and PCE hot spots detected upgradient. Additional vapor survey proposed this spring. Bill Janes
2/9/2007 Update or Other Action CR check for $1,910.82 received by DOL. For oversight work from October 2004 through September 2006. Bill Janes
2/26/2008 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking Initial ranking with Exposure Tracking Model (ETM) completed. Bill Janes
3/3/2008 Update or Other Action Emailed Gary Hamilton of Golder Associates to find out the status of the soil vapor survey that was supposed to be done in spring 2007 since a report hasn't been received. He responded stating that the soil vapor survey was done and they are currently working on the report which should be completed by the end of March. He will forward on a copy of the report to us at that time. Evonne Reese
5/29/2008 Update or Other Action Received the report titled Results of the 2007 Environmental Monitoring Program from Golder Associates. This report includes results for groundwater (GW) monitoring and passive soil vapor monitoring and recommendations for the 2008 monitoring plan. All groundwater monitoring wells showed a decreasing trends for TCE except in one well. RRO was found above cleanup levels in two groundwater wells. All wells have shown decreasing or stabilized trends for DRO except for one well where 0.4” of free product was found. It was recommended by Golder to continue with the monitoring of groundwater at the site in 2008. Passive soil vapor surveys were performed in order to use the results for detecting the presence or absence of certain chemical parameters. The results indicate that TCE, PCE and TPH are present in the shallow soil vapor upgradient of MW98.01. Golder proposes that a soil vapor investigation be implemented that would entail the installation of multi-depth probes. Samples would be collected using active sampling methods. These results could be used to estimate the GW and/or soil concentrations adjacent to the sample location. Evonne Reese
9/10/2008 Meeting or Teleconference Held Meeting via teleconference with Ed Hanousek (White Pass) and Gary Hamilton (Golder Associates) regarding the status of this site. Soil vapor sampling has shown that there is a large plume of chlorinated solvents to the north. An engineer from Golder will be onsite towards the end of this month in order to dig test pits upgradient of MW98-1. Scheduled groundwater sampling will occur as well at established wells throughout site. Evonne Reese
9/26/2008 Site Visit Site visit conducted along with other White Pass sites. Gary Hamilton from Golder Associates gave me a site tour and status update of the projects. Michelle Sevenhuysen (Golder project engineer) was onsite conducting groundwater monitoring and putting in test pits in order to delineate the VOCs plume north of MW98-1. This will give us a general idea of what the next step in remediation at this site should be. Evonne Reese
7/1/2010 Update or Other Action DEC cleanup oversight is assigned to Bruce Wanstall Bruce Wanstall
11/9/2010 Update or Other Action DEC approval and comment of a sampling plan for chipped rail tie upland disposal proposed by Golder Associates was sent by letter from the Solid Waste Program. Bruce Wanstall
9/6/2012 Site Visit Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) staff perform a site visit to White Pass & Yukon Railroad. The site visit evaluated the current condition of the Railroad Yard. The wood chip pile was observed and CSP staff requested chips to be covered. Denise Elston
10/17/2012 Update or Other Action ADEC sent a letter requesting an updated workplan be submitted to the agency for review to address outstanding environmental concerns at the site. Submittal for the workplan deadline is November 30, 2012 Denise Elston
11/30/2012 Update or Other Action requested workplan was submitted and rejected by DEC Denise Elston
4/12/2013 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC letter sent today to White Pass and Yukon Route provides approval and comment on Draft Site Characterization Work Plan (Work Plan) submitted by electronic mail from Golder Associates on March 1,2013. The Work Plan satisfies the department's request for an amended work plan as specified in 18 AAC 75.335(b). Denise Elston
8/12/2013 Site Visit DEC met with White Pass and discussed the current site status and lack of cleanup activity with the new WP President, Mr. John Finlayson. Correspondence in the past with the department has been negligible, therefore; DEC asked that monthly reports be submitted to continue an open dialog between the department, responsible party, and consultant. DEC will return to White Pass for the annual groundwater sampling and test pitting expected to take place at the first week of September. Denise Elston
4/2/2014 Update or Other Action DEC contacted Golder Associates to check on progress toward delivery of environmental reports on monitor well analytical sampling and test pit investigation at the Rail Yard Shop site in 2013. The Report will be sent to DEC soon and Golder anticipates mobilizing a drill rig to Skagway in spring 2014 to install new wells at the site. Bruce Wanstall
6/5/2014 Update or Other Action DEC examined correspondence and the Golder work plans for the WP&Y RR Shops and Wharf Tank sites. In a telephone conference with Golder staff Tamara Reynolds, DEC approved several modifications regarding well installation and sampling at the WP&Y RR Shops site. Drilling and sampling are scheduled for June 10-12th. DEC downloaded an electronic copy of the Golder 2013 Site Investigation and Environmental Monitoring Report for the WP&Y Rail Yard site. Bruce Wanstall
6/11/2014 Site Visit DEC met with White Pass & Yukon Route President John Finlayson, Superintendent of Rail Operations Mark L. Taylor, Director of Safety & Labor Relations Tyler Rose, and Golder Associates Senior Hydrologist Tamra Reynolds and Principal Gary J. Hamilton in Skagway to discuss the transition of DEC project management from Denise Elston to Bruce Wanstall for the White Pass & Yukon Rail Yard site. DEC reported to WP&YR that correspondence, site work and reporting by Golder has been acceptable. Golder delivered to DEC a hard copy of the 2013 Site Characterization Report for the site. Drilling of new groundwater investigation wells at the site is scheduled to begin in June 2014. Bruce Wanstall
10/29/2014 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC reviewed and approved the 2013 Site Investigation and Environmental Monitoring, White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad Maintenance Yard, Skagway, Alaska (Report), dated June 5, 2014. Golder Associates Inc. completed the report documenting site activities performed at the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Yard (Site) in September 2013 in general accordance with the approved Site Characterization Work Plan, dated May 2013. The site activity met the objectives of the Work Plan and in accordance with 18 AAC 75.335(d) the Report is approved, with comments and requests, stated in the DEC letter sent today by regular and electronic mail to White Pass & Yukon Route offices in Skagway. Bruce Wanstall
8/12/2015 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC reviewed and approved the 2014 Site Investigation and Environmental Monitoring, White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad Maintenance Yard, Skagway, Alaska (Report), dated April 17, 2015. Golder Associates Inc. completed the Report of sampling performed at the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Yard (Site) in June and September 2014. The sampling met the objectives of the approved Golder Work Plan dated May 2013 and recommendations in the April 2014 Golder Report. In accordance with 18 AAC 75.335(d) the Report is approved with comments and requests stated in a DEC letter sent today by regular and electronic mail to White Pass & Yukon Route offices in Skagway. DEC requested additional soil investigation test pit sampling in the northern area of the property to define DNAPL soil and groundwater contamination of unknown origin. Bruce Wanstall
8/13/2015 Exposure Tracking Model Ranking A new updated ranking with ETM has been completed for source area 71379 Railroad Maintenance Facility. Bruce Wanstall
7/18/2016 Report or Workplan Review - Other DEC has reviewed Site Characterization and Monitoring Report (Report), dated June, 2016. Golder Associates Inc. completed the Report documenting environmental sampling in test pits and monitoring wells at the referenced Site. In a letter dated August 12, 2015, DEC requested that additional test pit soil sample characterization proceed north and east until soils with concentrations of contaminants of concern (COCs) are less than DEC standards or a much reduced solvent concentration is confirmed; and to submit an evaluation of risk for the indoor air exposure pathway to COCs at the Site. Golder performed the following in May and in October, 2015: bi-annual collection and analysis of groundwater samples for approximately twenty five (25) onsite and offsite monitoring wells, excavation of nine (9) test pits, and evaluation of vapor intrusion risk for buildings both on-site and off-site. DEC concurs with the Report recommendation that vapor intrusion risk at the site is low and that groundwater monitoring be continued on a bi-annual schedule to ensure that natural attention of contamination in the area is occurring. Bruce Wanstall
10/10/2017 Update or Other Action Staff assigned changed from Sally Schlichting to Erin Gleason. Kathryne Roldan
2/28/2018 Update or Other Action Received the 2016 groundwater monitoring report today. The 2017 report is forthcoming and will be submitted after the 2016 report is finalized. Erin Gleason
5/2/2018 Workplan Requested Sent letter today to Tyler Rose requesting revisions to the 2017 monitoring report. Erin Gleason
5/31/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other Received revised 2016 groundwater monitoring report. Revised CSM will be included in upcoming work plan. Comment tracking matrix is forthcoming Erin Gleason
6/26/2018 Site Characterization Workplan Approved ADEC received a revised 2018 groundwater monitoring work plan on 6/7/2018. ADEC has reviewed the work plan and it is approved by ADEC. Under the revised work plan, wells will monitor for natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbons and trichloroethylene. The number of wells being sampled will be reduced from 22 to 5. RCRA metals and dissolved lead will no longer be analyzed because they have been below ADEC cleanup levels for 3+ years. Ground water sampling will be reduced to once per year due to the lack of seasonal change observed at the site. The work plan also includes an up to date conceptual site model (CSM). Erin Gleason
7/25/2018 Site Characterization Report Approved ADEC has review the 7/23/2018 comment tracking matrix for the 2016 groundwater monitoring report. All changes were made as requested. The 2016 Groundwater monitoring report is now approved. Erin Gleason
8/9/2018 Report or Workplan Review - Other Received 2017 groundwater monitoring report from Golder on behalf of White Pass.MW97-3 exceeds ADEC cleanup levels fro DRO, RRO, tetrachloroethene, and benzo(a)pyrene. DRO concentration has not been steady state since 2014. MW00-33R exceeds cleanup levels for benzo (a) pyrene. TCE, DCE, and VC were below cleanup levels in all wells on site. Contamination is no longer off property. ADEC is requesting revisions to the 2017 report prior to approval, revision due 11/1/2018. In addition, ADEC requests that the 2018 report be submitted by 12/31/2018. Erin Gleason
9/26/2018 Update or Other Action Based on the information in the 2017 groundwater monitoring report, DRO has a seasonal high concentration in May and tetrachloroethene has a seasonal high concentration in October. AS such, ADEC rescinds its approval of annual monitoring. Groundwater samples must be collected biannually until a tetrachloroethene trend is established. Erin Gleason
12/20/2018 Site Characterization Report Approved Received revised 2017 groundwater report from Golder. ADEC has reviewed the report and it is now approved. Based on the information in the report, a seasonal trend for PCE at MW97-3 has not been established. ADEC and Golder will review the 2018 together and make a determination on the best sampling scheduled. Erin Gleason
12/27/2018 Update or Other Action No record of Aqueous Fire Fighting Foams used on site by White Pass or municipality of Skagway. Erin Gleason
1/11/2019 Update or Other Action Deadline for 2018 report is extended to 1/31/2019. Erin Gleason

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