Vol. 13-1 ~ Winter 2013
John B. Carnahan
Sonja L. Benson
Melinda S. Brunner
Contaminated Sites Program
Other sites of Interest
Previous Issues of DEC's Brownfield Bulletin
Welcome to the Winter 2013 edition of the DEC Brownfield Bulletin!
We are very excited to have a story from guest contributor Caleb Aronson of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, describing that program’s successful brownfield cleanup done in Hughes in 2012. DEC was pleased to play a role in making that cleanup a success, and believes the project is an excellent example of how coordination and pooling of resources can make things happen.
In December we hosted our 5th Annual State & Tribal Response Program Brownfield Workshop here in Fairbanks. The conference was attended by 16 of the 22 active Alaska Tribal Response Programs (TRPs), all of whom contributed to the success of this once-yearly opportunity to focus on our common challenges and interests, and to strengthen partnerships among the Alaska TRPs.
Our annual request period for DEC Brownfield Assessments and Cleanups (DBACs) is now open. We’ll discuss in this issue what we look for when we are ranking and selecting the projects for our next fiscal year of funding.
A recent revision of the Brownfield Roadmap, developed by the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Technology Support Center, is a great interactive tool for exploring and better understanding the steps involved in bringing a scary brownfield to a new life as a community asset. We’ll take a look at this roadmap and provide links to it and related documents for your own exploration.
DEC’s Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) Database is an important tool for finding information online about contaminated sites in your community. For those developing Brownfield site inventories, the CSP Database should definitely be your first stop.
November saw us at the Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management (ATCEM), helping facilitate a Brownfield educational track, with sessions over two days including information on environmental site assessment, development of conceptual site models, background on EPA and DEC brownfield programs, a session with three of Alaska’s Tribal Response Programs, some case studies of actual Alaskan brownfield assessments and cleanups, and even a game of Brownfield Bingo!
Don’t miss this year’s Alaska Forum on the Environment (AFE), coming up next month, and be sure to mark your calendars for Brownfields 2013, the biggest brownfield event in the country, taking place in May in Atlanta, Georgia.
We hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and, as always, keep in touch.
In this issue:
The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council’s Brownfield Tribal Response Program Partners with DEC and Completes its First Pilot Cleanup Project
In 2010, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the YRITWC Brownfields Program asked each other if there was any way to combine resources to finally address a cleanup in the Yukon River watershed. The answer was yes and it was decided that we would focus on a property where both DEC and YRITWC had conducted assessment work in the past. After weighing the cost scenarios, and the readiness of communities and potential sites, it was decided that we could pool our resources on the Old School Tank Farm and Abandoned Generator Site located in the center of the community of Hughes. This site previously received an ESA in 2008 through the YRITWC and an Environmental Management Plan in 2009 through the DEC. And because the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) was planning to install a 40,000-gallon water storage tank within the proposed cleanup area, the reuse goal was clear: mitigate the exposure pathways by removing as much of the petroleum contaminated soil as possible and replacing it with clean fill in time for ANTHC to install the water storage tank. With the community’s support, an Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) was drafted to discuss the different cleanup strategies, lay out cost estimates, and prioritize the best approach for cleanup. Of the five alternatives defined in the ABCA, the one that Hughes, DEC, and YRITWC decided was the best approach – given the limited funding – was to prioritize the excavation and off-site treatment of soil. Treating the soil would involve building a containment cell away from the community and periodically tilling the soil to enhance degradation of the contaminants in the summer, and covering it with polyethylene sheeting in the winter to reduce exposure to water entering the cell and to increase solar heating. So, in 2012, the YRITWC Brownfields Program contracted site-specific cleanup services, and in August and September removed a total of 340 cubic yards of petroleum hydrocarbon-impacted soil located in the heart of the community.
Although this was a partial, prioritized cleanup, a little bit of soil removal went a long way to minimize the exposure to contaminants and make way for the new water storage tank for the community. In addition, it was estimated that 90 percent of the funding for this project went into the community of Hughes by hiring local equipment, operators, and laborers, making the first ever YRITWC Brownfields Tribal Response Program funded cleanup of property within the Yukon River Watershed a success for all those involved.
Alaska State and Tribal Response Program Brownfields Workshop: Gathered Attendees Share Knowledge
The 5th Annual Alaska State & Tribal Response Program (STRP) Workshop was hosted by the DEC R&R Program, on December 11-12, 2012, in Fairbanks, Alaska. The workshop brought together representatives from 16 Alaskan tribal response programs (TRPs), DEC’s state response program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Workshop attendees enjoyed a mix of presentations and small group exercises on topics that included funding for brownfield assessments and cleanups, planning for staff transitions, environmental compliance and enforcement, and environmental justice. This annual workshop is a valuable venue for Alaskan TRPs to network, share information, and discuss challenges that are unique to Alaskan brownfield projects, such as work in rural locations with no road access and short field seasons.
We are thankful to all of the attendees for carving time out of their busy schedules to come to Fairbanks and share their brownfields knowledge with others working in the field. We are looking forward to next year’s workshop!
DEC Brownfield Assessments and Cleanups—Request Period is Open Now!
Our request period for DEC Brownfield Assessments and Cleanups (DBACs) is now open, with a deadline of February 28, 2013. Each year we solicit requests for Brownfield projects for which we can use our State & Tribal Response Program (STRP) funding from EPA. Our funding varies slightly from year to year, but usually we are able to fund four or more assessments or, in 2011, one strong cleanup project. We have written about some of our projects in past issues, such as the summer 2012 edition’s story about an assessment in Buckland that helped keep a new pilot housing project on track. What do we look for in a DBAC request? For a successful Brownfield project, the first important component is in the definition of a brownfield: basically, a site that is prevented from a desired reuse or expanded use because the site is known or perceived to be contaminated with petroleum or a hazardous substance. The second component we look for is a well thought-out plan for the reuse or redevelopment, including documented applications for grants or other funding sources for various project elements, such as cleanup or the redevelopment itself (new construction, greenhouse materials, playground equipment, etc.). Strong community planning and support, with a committed team of community members, are critical to a successful brownfield revitalization project. Because of our funding limitations, we prioritize those projects that look like they have the best chances for success.
So, to summarize, the elements we look for in a DBAC request are the following:
Brownfield Roadmap: A Great Tool for Charting Your Course to Reuse
One goal of our Reuse & Redevelopment (R&R) Program is to help individuals better understand the various elements of the brownfield process so they are better prepared to address brownfields in their own communities. Part of this education builds on the knowledge base for the assessment and cleanup process. The newly released Brownfields Road Map publication and companion website together provide an excellent tool for learning how brownfields sites may be assessed and cleaned up, while introducing the reader to a range of technology options and resources.website, which complements the publication by providing supplemental information about emerging best practices, processes and initiatives that influence the consideration and use of innovative technologies.
Ignacio Dayrit, with the Center for Creative Land Recycling, contributed to the development of the Road Map. Ignacio has worked with our R&R Program on various brownfield projects over the years, and he writes:
“The Brownfields Road Map is a good reference for assessing and cleaning up brownfields sites, including a range of technology options, available resources and useful links, particularly from a Federal viewpoint. It is best to also keep your local and state conditions in mind.”
Targeted for non-technical stakeholders and technical professionals, the tool provides an excellent opportunity for any individual to self-educate on topics of importance to brownfields, contaminants and technologies, site remediation, as well as links to additional information and educational resources. The website also provides a link to useful acronyms and a glossary only a click away. View or download at http://www.brownfieldstsc.org/roadmap/.
The DEC Contaminated Sites Program Database: Make it Your First Stop When Researching Alaskan Brownfields
Are you wondering if that abandoned tank farm in the middle of your community is contaminated? Or maybe you’re asking yourself if that undeveloped lot full of trash is really ok for kids to be playing in? One of your first stops when trying to determine if a site is contaminated or suspected of being contaminated should be DEC’s Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) Database. The database is found online at: http://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/SPAR/PublicMVC/CSP/Search.
Below is a screen shot of the front page of the database. This application has multiple search options, and two of the easiest are to search by “City” or “Street Address.” Please see the red arrows, below, that highlight those two search options. Once you’ve added your search term, all you have to do is press the “Search Records” button, and a list of sites meeting your criteria will be provided.
The screen shot below shows the search results when “Clam Gulch” was chosen as the search term in the “City” field. The user could then click on any of the page icons in the “Closure Details” or “Cleanup Chronology” columns to learn more specifics about each site.
The DEC CSP Database is one of the largest and most easily accessed collections of information on contaminated sites in Alaska. Please consider using this tool the next time you’re wondering about a possible brownfield in your community.
Oil Spill Response Training
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