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Elmendorf Air Force Base

incident location map

DEC Contaminated Sites contact: Louis Howard, Project Manager for JBER, Contaminated Sites Program, Spill Prevention and Response Division, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, 555 Cordova St., Anchorage, AK  99501-2617, 907-269-7552, 907-269-7649 Fax

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson contact: Teresa Lee, Chief, JBER Environmental Restoration, Operating Location Alaska JBER, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, 10471 20th St., Suite 317, JBER, AK  99506-2201, 907-384-1824

U.S. EPA contact: Sandra Halstead, Alaska Operations Office, Environmental Protection Agency, 222 W. Seventh Ave., Suite 19, Room 537, Anchorage, AK  99513-7504, 907-271-1218

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  • Contacts updated: October 21, 2016
  • Summary updated: November 2008


Beach restoration work at Elmendorf

Beach restoration

The Elmendorf Air Force Base (EAFB) site covers approximately 13,455 acres near Anchorage. The Air Force has identified over 35 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites and 31 State Elmendorf Environmental Agreement (SERA) areas of possible contamination including landfills, drum storage areas, waste disposal areas, fuel spill areas, and leaking underground storage tanks (UST's). Unlined landfills have received a variety of hazardous wastes, including lead acid batteries and waste solvents. Shop wastes, solvents and paint thinners, have been disposed of in an unlined trench.

The site was added to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) National Priorities List in 1990. It has been divided into several operable units (OUs), each of which moves independently through the Superfund cleanup process.

Public Health and Environmental Concerns

Groundwater has been contaminated with lead and volatile organic compounds such as trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, and tetrachloroethylene. Used oils, solvents, and fuel have been discharged onto the ground. Soil is contaminated with petroleum, lead, and chlorinated solvents.

People may be exposed to pollutants through dermal contact or accidental ingestion of contaminated soil or water. Contaminants that may have bioaccumulated in fish and other wildlife may also pose a health threat to humans.

Response Actions

  • In 1996, the Air Force closed the four, one million-gallon tanks in place. The recovery system was shutdown in 1999 and subsequent monitoring has shown no significant recurrence of free product.
  • The last Record of Decision was signed on June 17, 2004 for DP98. DP98 is a former vehicle maintenance facility where the soil and groundwater are contaminated with chlorinated solvents and petroleum. The selected remedy is excavation of contaminated soil combined with monitored natural attenuation and long-term monitoring of the groundwater. Excavation will take place in summer of 2005.
  • In 1998, the Air Force conducted a successful removal of PCB contaminated soils from a former transformer storage area.
  • In 2001, the Air Force conducted a successful removal action of petroleum and lead contaminated soil discovered during excavation activities at a housing construction project.
  • In 2002, the State Elmendorf Environmental Agreement (SERA) two party agreement for petroleum releases was dissolved by mutual agreement. All historical releases of petroleum to be regulated by contaminated sites or underground storage tank regulations.
  • For new petroleum releases, a presumptive remedy agreement was signed by the Air Force and DEC which allows the Air Force to take action prior to notifying DEC using four standard protocols listed in the agreement.

Current Status

Bioventing is being used to cleanup the soil at several SERA sites. Contaminated groundwater and seep water flows through a constructed wetland remediation system in Operable Unit 5 at the location of the "snowmelt" pond. The second five year review was conducted and finished on December 17, 2003 which concluded that the remedial actions taken at the Base still remain protective of human health and the environment.

The Air Force has continued to meet with community members on a semiannual basis in a Community Environmental Board forum to discuss environmental issues and concerns at the Base.

More Information

US Air Force’s Elmendorf Environmental Restoration Program

Information Repositories Documents associated with these project activities are available for public review at: