Division of Spill Prevention and Response


The Kenai River Watershed - Contaminated Site Summaries


Incident location map.

Click on a site for more information: Map of the Kenai River watershed. The River Terrace site is located on the banks of the Kenai River in downtown Soldotna. It operated as a dry cleaning facility from the 1960's to the 1980's and is currently a recreation vehicle parking area.  In 1992, DEC investigated a complaint regarding leaking barrels at this site and discovered 22 barrels containing used oil and other substances. One barrel was labeled "Perchloroethylene," a dry cleaning solvent also known as PCE. The nature and extent of the soil and groundwater contamination was not discovered until 1997.  Soil cleanup activities began in 1997 and groundwater cleanup began in 2000.  The Sterling ZipMart was a gas station which opened in 1985. Whittier Properties, Inc. owned and operated the facility from April 1990 to December 2000. In December 2001, Whittier Properties performed contamination assessment work at the facility. The assessment showed significant soil and groundwater contamination. Thirteen inches of fuel product was detected in two monitor wells. The quantity of fuel spilled is unknown, but estimates are in the 10's of thousands of gallons. Cleanup efforts have resulted in the recovery of approximately 13,000 gallons of fuel, as of January 2003. The former Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Soldotna Maintenance Facility is situated at the intersection of Birch Street and the Sterling Highway, in downtown Soldotna, and borders the Kenai River. The property is relatively flat and unpaved, with the surrounding area sloping south towards the Kenai River. Six areas of contamination were identified in 1992, primarily around storage areas for fuel, oil, salt, paint and solvents, plus an old septic tank system.  Subsurface soil and groundwater were found to be contaminated with petroleum compounds and chlorides from winter road salt storage. Cleanup actions in the ensuing decade have included soil removal and treatment, tank removal, abandonment of a drinking water well, and groundwater monitoring. Fuel contamination (primarily gasoline) was identified at Cook's Tesoro facility in 1989 during expansion of the Sterling Highway. The site is about 950 feet north of the Kenai River and 1600 feet east of the Moose River. DEC hired a contractor to investigate the site in 1989, and interim cleanup measures began in 1990.  Approximately 3300 cubic yards of soil was excavated, treated, and disposed of offsite. Inaccessible areas of highly contaminated soil remained under and adjacent to the building and beneath the original fuel tanks. Soil contamination also remained directly beneath the excavation area down to the groundwater (about 20 to 25 feet below ground level). Hamilton's Place service station is located at Mile 48.5 of the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing, Alaska.  The underground fuel storage tank systems are approximately 200 feet from the banks of the Kenai River.  Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination was identified in the soil and groundwater at the site during removal of two underground fuel tanks. The impact to groundwater continues to be assessed through monitoring wells and groundwater sampling.
Cook's Tesoro
Sterling, Alaska
River Terrace Laundromat
Soldotna, Alaska
Hamilton’s Place
Cooper Landing, Alaska
Sterling Zipmart
Sterling, Alaska
ADOT & PF Soldotna Maintenance Station
Soldotna, Alaska


Site summary updates are developed by the DEC to provide information on specific contaminated sites in Alaska. These updates describe actions taken by the Department, provide current clean-up status, and explain public health and environmental concerns.