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Collinson Point Intermediate Distant Early Warning Line Station


Incident location map. Summary Date: March 5, 2015 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status: Active Database Name: Collinson Point / DERP
Location: near Kaktovik, Alaska Latitude: 69.975 Longitude: -144.840833
DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Deb Caillouet, Project Manager - 907-269-0298
Map of area.

Description

 

The Collinson Point Intermediate Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line Station was established as one of 18 sites constructed in the 1950s for the defensive advance warning radar system that provided “top cover” air defense for North America. The Alaska system was constructed and operated by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and later turned over for operation by various Department of Defense (DOD) contractors. Eighteen sites were constructed in northern Alaska at approximately 50-mile intervals, stretching from Cape Lisburne in the west to the Canadian border in the east. An additional 36 sites were constructed along the Canadian coast. The Intermediate stations consisted of a single 5-module building and support facilities and doppler-type radar fences. They were used as gap-filling anchor points between rotating radar-equipped stations.


Ownership of the Collinson Point Intermediate DEW Line Station was transferred to the USAF in 1957, when the entire DEW Line system became active. The Collinson Point site was deactivated in 1962, and in 1965, site ownership was transferred to the U.S. Navy. In 1970, ownership was transferred to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. When the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was created in 1980, ownership was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and remains with them today. The DEW Line was renamed the North American Warning System in 1985, when the advanced radar systems of Alaska were integrated into one system, operated from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.


Collinson Point was designated a “Formerly Used Defense Site,” and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers directs its cleanup following the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) standards for protecting people, animals, and the environment. DEC oversees the cleanup to assure it meets State of Alaska standards. The Army Corps of Engineers and DEC seek community involvement in cleanup decisions via the Barter Island Restoration Advisory Board.


Collinson Point DEW Line Station lies on the shore of Simpson Cove at Camden Bay on the Beaufort Sea. It is located within ANWR in the North Slope Borough, east of Prudhoe Bay and approximately 40 miles southwest of the community of Kaktovik.


  • Information and Figures from Final Remedial Action Report Collinson Point (POW-D) Intermediate DEW Line Station, Site Restoration, North Slope Borough, Alaska, Prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by EMCON, Inc., November 2001

 


Public Health and Environmental Concerns

 

Potential environmental concerns include abandoned drums, solid waste problems, fuel-related contamination, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Potential pathways of concern include migration to surface water, direct contact to contaminated soil or sediment, and subsistence pathways.

 


Current Status

 

Demolition of the DEW Line buildings occurred in 2000 along with asbestos and lead-based paint abatement. At the same time, approximately 32 tons of fuel-impacted soil was removed, equipment and debris was removed (tower, transformers, 176 drums, misc.), and fuel distribution pipelines were removed. The status of the dump site(s) are unknown at this time.


Information from the November 2001 Remedial Action Report from the Corps of Engineers indicates PCB concentrations in two soil samples exceed the cleanup level and concentrations in two sediment samples are elevated. The diesel range organic concentration in one sediment sample was also elevated.


Soil, concrete, water, and sediment samples were collected at the Collinson Point DEW Line Station, Alaska , in July 2004 to address Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s (ADEC) concern that some of the areas had been incompletely cleaned up While the original intention of this investigation was to collect sufficient data for the evaluation of the site for closure per 18 AAC 75 Article 3 (ADEC 2003), the analytical data obtained suggests further remedial efforts may be warranted.


The analytical results from this sampling event show bottom sediments from both the Debris Pond and the pond east of the Tank Farm (“AST Pond”) are contaminated, as is the surface water in the AST Pond. Additionally, elevated levels of PCBs were found in concrete samples collected from the former Composite Building slab. The analytical results for samples collected from the large pond southwest of the main station site and east of the Debris Pond (“Southwest Pond”), Quonset Hut #3, and the surface soils surrounding the former Composite Building garage did not exceed ADEC cleanup criteria. The majority of the debris at Marsh Creek appeared benign, and was likely deposited by storm or ice action.


Bottom sediment samples collected from the Debris Pond contained POL above soil cleanup levels, as well as PCBs above the NOAA Probable Effects Level (PEL); due to the persistent nature of PCBs, it is unlikely that the concentrations of this contaminant will decrease significantly over time. The contaminated sediment in the Debris Pond is covered with a variety of metallic and wooden debris.


Bottom sediment samples collected from the AST Pond contained POL above the soil cleanup levels, as well as low molecular weight PAH above the NOAA Upper Effects Threshold (UET). Analytical results for surface water samples collected from this pond exceeded groundwater criteria, but no sheen was noted, and the concentrations did not exceed Alaska Water Quality Standards. Most of this contamination is located at the western and southern portions of the pond.


Concrete samples collected from the surface of the former Composite building garage slab contained PCBs at concentrations > 25 ppm. PCBs in surface soil samples collected from around the slab, during this sampling event, were below the ADEC 18 AAC 75 soil cleanup level; however past results for soil samples collected in the vicinity of the former garage show PCBs above the ADEC soil cleanup level.


Additional remedial/removal efforts may be required for this site, specifically at the Debris Pond, the AST Pond, and the former Composite Building garage slab. This recommendation is based on the assessment of all analytical data obtained from the July 2004 sampling event, in conjunction with data obtained from this site during the 1987 and 1989 site investigations , and the 2000 remedial action, and observations documented by the various sampling agencies.


More Information

Photos of Collinson Point - before cleanup

Collinson Point before cleanup.

Collinson Point in August 2001, after demolition and removal work.

Collinson Point in August 2001, after demolition and removal work.