DEC's Brownfield Assessment and Cleanup ProjectsUpdated: Jan. 26, 2015
|FY 2013 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2012 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2011 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2010 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2009 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2008 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
|FY 2007 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location
| FY 2006 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location|
| FY 2005 Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups By City / Location|
Brownfield Projects in Alaska
Since 2003, DEC's Brownfield staff has been working with Alaska communities to identify their concerns about contaminated properties. Brownfields are properties where reuse, redevelopment, or expansion is hindered by real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfields can be large or small, vacant or developed, abandoned or occupied. The brownfield "vision" focuses on sustainable redevelopment, which takes many forms: parks and green space, public facilities, new businesses, residential developments, and more. DEC's brownfield assistance can help you make those decisions.
The biggest obstacle to cleaning up and revitalizing contaminated sites is funding. DEC has led more than 70 brownfield assessments at both rural and urban sites across the state using both state and federal resources. Our assessments can give communities a definite advantage when applying for federal and state grants and other assistance. Most of our assessment funding comes through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and our staff also helps communities get other types of Brownfield grants and services.
DEC facilitates assessment
DEC Brownfield Assessments and Cleanups (DBACs) are available to public, quasi-public, and non-profit entities, such as city and borough governments, tribal councils, Native corporations, and community development organizations. A DBAC helps identify contamination at a property, evaluates how the contamination could be managed to facilitate future use, and provides an estimate of cleanup costs. DEC conducts between three and ten DBACs each year, using either federal funding from EPA or state funds for state-owned properties. Assessments provide additional data at sites where a lack of environmental information has thwarted redevelopment opportunities. (See more information about Brownfields.) Some highlights of our DBAC projects using our federal State & Tribal Response funding over the years are summarized below:
|State Fiscal Year 2011 – Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups|
Elim – Elim Old City Shop |
Requested by the City of Elim
The City of Elim requested an assessment of their Old City Shop property, in order to identify environmental hindrances that could limit the future beneficial reuse of the site. The intended reuse of the site was for an upgraded and improved city shop facility.
The Old City Shop property in Elim is a swampy area that was used as a dump site before it became a shop area for heavy equipment in the late 1970s. The site has old tanks that were used to store heating fuel, a storage area of used batteries and waste oil, and a storage area for broken down equipment and drums of diesel fuel. Previous assessment work did not identify extensive contamination, but future sampling was recommended once the berms were removed from the fuel-storage area.
The community is interested in cleaning up any contamination that may affect the future reuse of the site. This was identified in the DBA request form as a specific objective. The City would like a better work area for the heavy equipment mechanics. Our scope of work was the development of a Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan (PACP) to help determine how best to achieve an acceptable end result.
According to the final PACP report, the Elim Old City Shop is at the same location as the community’s old landfill. Since burial of the landfill in the early 1980s, the site has become the location of the city's equipment shop, fire station, and storage and disposal area for broken equipment, vehicles, used oil, lead-acid batteries, and construction debris. The consultant identified the potential exposure routes at the site as ingestion, direct contact, and inhalation. The Old City Shop site is located slightly down-gradient from the community drinking water source on Elim Creek; however, salt-water intrusion and backwash sometimes occur at high tide and surface water runoff could enter the municipal drinking water supply. Overall, environmental actions recommended for the Old City Shop site include removal of solid and hazardous waste, development of a comprehensive plan to manage storage and disposal of future waste, and a site characterization to determine the extent of contamination in groundwater, surface water, and soil.
Aerial photograph of the Larsen Bay Old School, shown in center of photo; the new school is shown at bottom.
The Larsen Bay Tribal Council submitted a request for an assessment of the former Larsen Bay Elementary School. The community plans to reuse this property for community gardens or a recycling center. The site is located next to the current school. The old school was constructed in the 1940s, with a footprint estimated at 1,640 square feet. The facility is a wood-framed structure, part sheathed and roofed with metal panels and a smaller area sheathed with wood and roofed with asphalt roofing. Heat was provided by an oil-fired furnace supplying warm air through an under floor duct system and by an oil-fired space heater. Electrical service to the facility was provided by an on-site diesel generator. According to a 1981 report by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, a 2,000-gallon underground storage tank (UST) was also located on site.
The Kodiak Island Borough owned the building and parcel until 1987. A new school was built directly adjacent to the property in 1980. The property ownership transferred to the City of Larsen Bay in 1988. The building now stands vacant and is boarded up. The parcel is fenced but it is easily accessible and there are no institutional controls in place.
The Larsen Bay Tribal Council asked that the site be assessed for potential sources of contaminants, including petroleum and chemical contaminants, asbestos, and lead-based paint contamination. Our scope of work included development of a Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan and a hazardous building materials survey, in order to help support and facilitate the desired reuse of the site.
Noatak – Noatak Former Dumpsite|
Requested by the Native Village of Noatak
The Native Village of Noatak requested an assessment of the historical dumpsite that is eroding into the Noatak River, impeding boat traffic and causing concern about potential environmental contamination affecting their traditional subsistence resources. Two dumpsites are associated with this project: the old eroding Noatak dumpsite, and the active dumpsite that the community would like to close and redevelop the area it currently occupies.
Noatak’s current, active dumpsite is in a poor location and is not properly managed. It is located too close to the school, clinic, and village residences. The community has been moving away from the eroding river bank and is now abutting up against the active dumpsite. They are seeking technical assistance to properly close their existing dumpsite and remove large items for backhaul or transport to a new landfill location, which would be properly planned and designed, and sited in a better location farther from town. This aspect of the project will be coordinated with staff from Maniilaq Association’s brownfield and recycling/backhaul department. The community would like to close this dumpsite and use the reclaimed land for a backhaul staging area
The intent of this project is to help the community of Noatak with their desire to reduce or eliminate the environmental and human health hazards posed by both the old eroding dumpsite and the existing poorly maintained dumpsite. Our project would entail development of a property assessment and cleanup plan (PACP) and assistance with exploring funding options for other phases of the work. Our objective for this project is to provide the community with an assessment report that can be used as reference documentation for future funding requests to various agencies.
This request was for assessment of several properties in Selawik: The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) Fuel Project Former Tank Farm, the Old Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative (AVEC) Tank Farm, and the Barge Landing. An additional site in Selawik already on DEC’s contaminated sites database is the Former School Tank Farm Gravel Pad. DEC determined tht the best approach for this community would be an area-wide survey of environmental conditions at the sites of concern, with limited sampling at selected sites.
Site 1: IRA Fuel Project Former Tank Farm
Site 2: Old AVEC Tank Farm
The Old AVEC Tank Farm is located at the northern end of the Village along the west shore of the Selawik River and near the Village office. The site is also located on the east side of the village school and close to residences. The property consists of approximately 4.4 acres of partially vacant land associated with the former AVEC tank farm and contains homes and several Connex containers, abandoned tanks from the old tank farm, and a generator building.
Site 3: Barge Landing
The barge landing is located along the south side of the Selawik River northwest of the Village. The site consists of approximately 4.5 acres and contains various abandoned equipment and old tanks scattered on the site. The tank inventory includes one petroleum fuel tank owned by the Northwest Indian Housing Authority, several abandoned AVEC fuel tanks, and several fuel tanks relocated from the school tank farm.
Thorne Bay – Thorne Bay Old Fire Hall |
Requested by the City of Thorne Bay
The City of Thorne Bay requested an assessment of the Thorne Bay Old Fire Hall, which is now abandoned in a central area of town. The old fire hall is contaminated with cement asbestos siding, and an asbestos evaluation report has already been completed. The City of Thorne Bay is seeking other funds for asbestos abatement and building demolition. Their request is for a Property Assessment and Cleanup Plan (PACP) with a site visit to evaluate potential contamination from past fuel handling and vehicle maintenance operations, and to lay out options for cleanup and reuse. The City is interested in reusing this site for an expansion of the neighboring Pearl Nelson Community Park and construction of a covered gazebo or band shell for public use and community events.
Previous investigations have determined that the Thorne Bay Old Fire Hall contains asbestos siding on the exterior of the building. Other environmental hazards could include soil contamination from the previous storage and maintenance of vehicles and equipment. Our scope of work was to develop a PACP to summarize existing environmental conditions and options for making the site ready for its intended reuse. The PACP also incorporated the elements of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to support future funding applications.
|State Fiscal Year 2009 – Brownfield Assessments & Cleanups|
On Christmas Eve, 2006, a fire destroyed the McGrath Native Village Council’s (MNVC) tribal hall. During clean-up work after the fire, workers discovered a fuel-oil release in the subsurface. They worked with staff from DEC’s Preparedness Prevention and Response Program to complete limited site screening and then requested further assessment to help make the site ready for construction of a new tribal hall. They have secured funds from the Interior Regional Housing Authority for the new hall's conceptual plan and are applying for an Indian Community Development Block Grant for the construction of the new building. The new construction is intended to incorporate green building practices.
The new tribal hall will serve as a community gathering place for the MNVC Tribal members, for meetings and cultural activities. The new building will also hold more space for offices, for both tribal administrators and for other community organizations. The new space will save the MNVC money they have been spending on rent and will allow the creation of new jobs, with the positions to be housed in the new offices.
The scope of this DEC Brownfield Assessment included tank removal and limited soil excavation, and confirmation sampling. The project will also provide additional leveraging for complementary funding assistance for design and construction of the new facility.
Requested by the Koyukuk Tribal Council
The old power plant (generator building) in Koyukuk is abandoned and occupying valuable space in the village. In January and March of 2002, two separate overfills of the generator day tank occurred when the automatic shut-off malfunctioned. During the first spill, diesel fuel spurted out the vent pipe in the roof of the building, saturating the walls and the ground under the structure. The volume of fuel spilled was estimated to be approximately 500 gallons each time.
The location is a concern because it is across the street from the school, washeteria, and primary water source for the village. This also makes the property a potential candidate for a new clinic, because it needs to be close to the water supply.
Our work entailed development of an environmental management plan for the property, to determine what local resources might be available for remediation and management of the contamination. This effort is in coordination with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, which has assisted with development of a community action plan for the site.
This effort is also in coordination with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. Benzene contamination was documented in the late 1990s in the public water supply well for Hughes, and is linked to the old tank farm and distribution lines. The system is on quarterly testing for Volatile Organic Compounds, which seem to be adequately removed by the treatment system. Much of the contamination related to the former fuel storage and distribution system for the village is a result of flooding of the Koyukuk River in 1994 and 2006.
The community would like to reuse this flood-prone area for a softball field or playground to provide new recreational opportunities for tribal members, and possibly construction of a new building for community gatherings.
DEC developed an environmental management plan for the site, with cost estimates for different remedial scenarios. Further evaluation of the drinking-water supply options for the village is ongoing.
As with many former AVEC facilities throughout the state, Lower Kalskag has had a bulk fuel tank farm upgrade, but the old tanks are still present at the former location and no subsurface investigation to characterize the extent of contamination was carried out when the old tank farm was decommissioned.
The community is concerned about lingering fuel contamination in soil at the former fuel storage site, because their public water supply well was previously located on the adjacent lot. The Village of Lower Kalskag would like to have the site assessed and remedial action completed, if necessary, for protection of their drinking-water resources and to make the site available for reuse as storage space for the city and tribal offices’ connexes, an office building for landfill management operations, and new lodging facilities for visitors.
DEC’s work at this site included field screening and limited evaluation of off-site contaminant migration.
This site was used as a dumping ground for 20 years or more. A sawmill located there in the 1960s was reportedly shoved into the lake when it broke down. Refuse is estimated to include vehicles, motors, batteries, and general household garbage. The request also mentions a shop building located north of the lake that has fuels and hazardous substances and a “distinctive diesel smell.” The community is concerned that the contamination in the lake could damage their subsistence fishing resources and water quality of surrounding sloughs and rivers. Big Lake was once a recreation area, used for swimming, fishing, and trapping; it is currently used for canoe races in the summer and a spring ice-picking contest.
The community would like to restore Big Lake to its former, pristine condition before the sawmill operation and the dumping so that it could be used as a recreation area once again, for swimming lessons, picnicking, community gatherings, fish stocking, and beaver trapping.
DEC developed an environmental management plan, including a site inventory to document recognized environmental conditions at the lake and adjacent shop building, recommendations for analytical testing, and exploration of options for site restoration.
Contact our Staff
Please contact the following brownfields staff with any questions or concerns:
Amy Rodman, Environmental Program Specialist (907) 465-5368
Christy Howard, Environmental Program Specialist (907) 465-5206
ADEC Contaminated Sites Program
410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 303
Juneau, AK 99811-1800
Fax Number: (907) 465-5218