Division of Spill Prevention and Response

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King Salmon Air Station


Incident location map. Summary Date: September 2009
View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status:  Active Database Name: King Salmon AFB
Location: King Salmon, Alaska Latitude/Longitude: See individual database entries, below

DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Jonathan Schick, Project Manager - 907-269-3077
U.S. Air Force Contact: Charley Peyton, U.S. Air Force, 611 CES/CEVR - (907) 552-9765


For over two decades, DEC has been working collaboratively with the Air Force, the community and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on environmental restoration at the King Salmon Air Station. Over the last several years, significant efforts have gone into evaluating how to best treat trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination in groundwater.


See also these summaries: King Salmon Air Station - Lake Camp and King Salmon Air Station - Rapids Camp

Click on photos or maps for larger versions.


aerial view of King Salmon Air Station

Aerial view of King Salmon Air Station. (US Air Force photo)

Description


The King Salmon Air Station is situated on the Alaska Peninsula adjacent to Bristol Bay and Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 280 air miles southwest of Anchorage, and is adjacent to the community of King Salmon. The communities of Naknek and South Naknek are approximately 13 miles west-northwest of King Salmon. There are three tribes in the area: King Salmon Village Council, Naknek Native Village Council, and South Naknek Village Council. Present-day tribal members are descendents of a group that was forced to relocate to King Salmon due to the eruption of Mount Katmai, on the east coast of the Peninsula. The community has grown as a government, transportation, and service center for the commercial red salmon and recreational visitor industries.


At the beginning of World War II, the air station was built and used primarily as a military fuel and support base for the Aleutian Islands. In 1948, the Alaskan Air Command began using the air station as a Forward Operating Base. A post office was established in 1949, and the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a road to Naknek. The air station was also one of the original ten aircraft control and warning sites constructed as part of a permanent air defense system in Alaska during the early 1950s. The air base became an operational ground controlled intercept site in 1951, and was converted to a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Control Center in 1953. The State of Alaska acquired the airfield in 1959, and it now serves as a commercial airport. In 1994, the air station was placed in caretaker status, with day-to-day facility maintenance and operations provided by a contractor, and supports daily military activities, including Air Force, Army and Marine training missions, NORAD missions, and U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement and search and rescue missions. The Bristol Bay Borough and the State of Alaska are using several buildings on the base, as well. The Air Force continues to be a major tenant at the airport. The airfield and base can easily reactivated to a military status during times of national security needs. The base covers approximately 727 acres in four general areas and 16 parcels adjacent to the commercial airport and north of the commercial area of King Salmon.


The facility has been divided into seven zones based on similarities in groundwater movement, contaminants of concern, geology, and location (see map below); these zones include the five areas within the King Salmon vicinity and two recreational areas east of King Salmon. Forty Installation Restoration Program sites and 15 areas of concerns have been identified and are at various stages of investigation, cleanup, monitoring, or closure. Hazardous and potentially hazardous substances used and stored at the facility include diesel fuel and gasoline, oil, antifreeze, solvents for servicing and cleaning equipment, pesticides, and electrical transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The Air Force is the responsible party for cleaning up these sites 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 the State of Alaska standards. The Air Force and DEC work with community members through a Restoration Advisory Board.

 

 


Biocell treatment at King Salmon Air force Base

This biocell used to treat petroleum-contaminated soil in King Salmon is a large pit lined with material which prevents contamination from passing through it while the soil is being treated. (DEC photo)

 

Truck dumping soil into biocell

Pipes buried in the soil increase air circulation and speed the action of bacteria which break down the contamination through biological processes. (DEC photo)

Public Health and Environmental Concerns

 

People may be exposed to pollutants through vapor inhalation, direct contact with the skin, or accidental ingestion of contaminated soil or water at the sites. Environmental concerns at the King Salmon Air Station include:

 

  • Soil and groundwater are contaminated by petroleum and trichloroethene (TCE) from a former tank farm, two former dry wells, and various individual sites. The contaminated groundwater has migrated to Eskimo Creek (Zone 1 and 2).

  •  

    Response action -- A bioventing curtain and groundwater treatment system were installed to treat petroleum in soil and groundwater prior to entering Eskimo Creek.

     

  • Petroleum releases and spills from former underground storage tanks have impacted soil and groundwater (Zones 1, 2 and 5).

     

    Response action -- Six bioventing systems were installed within the former tank areas to remediate (find a remedy for) the soil. Monitored natural attenuation continues to help remediate the groundwater.

     

  • Petroleum-contaminated groundwater from a former tank farm has seeped into the wetlands near the Naknek River (Zone 4).

    Response Action -- Petroleum-contaminated soil was removed, and majority of the petroleum-contaminated groundwater has been remediated. The removed soil was treated in facility bioremediation cells (see photos at right); the treated soil was reused as landfill capping material within the facility. A passive remediation system continues to treat residual contamination prior to entering the wetlands and Naknek river.

  • Petroleum and trichloroethene (TCE) contamination from the former fire training areas has impacted Red Fox Creek (Zone 5); Red Fox Creek is currently on the state's list of impaired waterbodies.

     

    Response Action -- Contaminated soil was removed from the fire training areas, treated in facility bioremediation cells, and the treated soil was used as landfill capping material at the facility. A bioventing system was installed to treat contamination prior to entering the creek, and further soil removal in a former dump adjacent to the creek is planned for 2006.

     

  • Buried drums and dumped items in the North and South Bluff sites could potentially impact King Salmon Creek and the adjacent wetlands (Zone 3).

     

    Response Action -- A limited removal action occurred, followed by recontouring and capping of the North and South bluff sites, and a groundwater treatment system was installed at South Bluff. An operation, monitoring, and maintenance program has been established for the Bluff sites.

     

  • Buried drums and dumped items in the Lake Camp dump and petroleum contaminants from the former generator pad may potentially impact the adjacent wetlands (Zone 7).

     

    Response Action -- A limited removal action, capping, maintenance, and monitoring are scheduled for Lake Camp dump in 2005. Removal and treatment of petroleum-contaminated soil is also planned in 2005 for the generator pad and vehicle maintenance area; groundwater monitoring throughout the site will continue.

     

People may be exposed to pollutants through vapor inhalation, direct contact with the skin, or accidental ingestion of contaminated soil or water at these sites. No private or public drinking water wells have been adversely impacted by these contaminated sites.

 


Current Status

(as of January 2005)

At this time, Records of Decision (ROD) documenting the choice of cleanup methods have been completed for 5 of the 7 zones, and the remaining two are in the preparation stage. (See below for more information on the records of decision.) Ten remediation systems will continue to operate until state and federal cleanup levels are met. Additional debris and soil removal actions are scheduled for 2005/06; petroleum-contaminated soil will be remediated in the facility bioremediation cells. Investigative studies to delineate the extent of contamination and to investigate sites not yet explored are scheduled for 2005/06. Monitored natural attenuation and long-term monitoring at several sites will continue to be evaluated to demonstrate sustained reduction in contaminant levels.


Community involvement continues through fact sheets/newsletters, public meetings, DEC e-mail updates, and restoration advisory board meetings with DEC, the Air Force, and the community.

 

Aerial map of groundwater zones

Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force



More Information


Contaminated Sites Database reports - There are a number of individual "contaminated sites" on the air station, and reports on the status of each is available on DEC's database. We have a glossary available to help you with any acronyms used in the reports.

 


Records of Decision

For complete copies of all federal administrative records associated with King Salmon, please contact Dave Hertzog, U.S. Air Force, 611 CES/CEVR - Project Manager. Tel: 907-552-7261

 

  • Zone 1, Record of Decision, first part, November 2000 (PDF 1.6 MB)Large fileThis is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, which summarizes the record, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.

  • Zone 2, Record of Decision, first part, December 2002 (PDF 367 K) This is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.

  • Zone 2, Record of Decision, Addendum One, November 19, 2003 (PDF 594 K)

  • Zone 3, Record of Decision, first part, April 2000 (PDF 1.6 MB)Large fileThis is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, which summarizes the record, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.

  • Zone 4, Record of Decision, first part, April 1999 (PDF 4 MB)Large fileThis is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, which summarizes the record, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.

  • Zone 6, Record of Decision, first part, April 2000 (PDF 254 K)This is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, which summarizes the record, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.

  • Record of Decision for remediated soil, first part, April 1999 (PDF 4 MB)Large fileThis is only the first part of the record of decision. It contains the declaration signed by all parties, which summarizes the record, plus Table of Contents, definitions and acronyms.


Links off DEC pages

Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development Community Information Summary on King Salmon (select King Salmon from community list).