Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Cape Newenham LRRS

Incident location map. Summary Date: April 2004 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status:  Active Other Name: Cape Newenham LRRS
Location: Cape Newenham (near Platinum, AK) Latitude: 58 38 60.0 Longitude: -162 10 21.0

DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Jeff Brownlee, Project Manager - 907-269-3053
U.S. Air Force Contact: Keith Barnack, U.S. Air Force, 611 CES/CEVR - 907-552-5160


aerial view of KingTopographic map of area. Click to see a larger image.

View of Upper Camp. (Courtesy of USAF)


Upper Camp slope. (Courtesy of USAF)


Aerial photo of site.

WWII era aerial photo of site. (Coutesy of USAF)


Cape Newenham Long Range Radar Site (LRRS) is a remote United States Air Force (USAF) installation situated on Cape Newenham. Cape Newenham is a small peninsula on the southwest coast of Alaska and marks the divide between Kuskokwim Bay to the north and Bristol Bay to the south. The LRRS consists of 2,359-acres and is situated across the center of the peninsula (coast to coast). Cape Newenham is located approximately 460 air miles southwest of Anchorage. The Togiak National Wildlife Refuge (formerly Cape Newenham Wildlife Refuge) occupies the rest of the peninsula along with an additional four million acres. Cape Newenham and Cape Newenham LRRS are accessible only by air or sea. The nearest community is Platinum, located 30 miles northwest on the shores of Goodnews Bay, with a population of approximately 40.

The LRRS was one of the 10 original aircraft control and warning sites constructed in Alaska as part of the establishment of a permanent air defense system. This system provided radar coverage over the segment of Alaska ’s west coast. Construction of the installation was started in 1950 and was completed in 1952. Cape Newenham LRRS became operational in 1954. The installation’s early technology provided radar coverage by a radio system. The original radio system was replaced in 1957 by a White Alice Communication System (WACS), a system of Air Force-owned tropospheric scatter and microwave radio relay sites. The WACS was deactivated and replaced in 1979 with an Alascom-owned satellite communication system.

Initially, the LRRS installation provided living facilities for a permanent force of approximately 100 military personnel. In 1977, a private contractor was hired to provide support services using civilians, eliminating 80 military positions and leaving just 14 military personnel in operations at the LRRS. The station began using satellites in 1983 to relay radar data to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, which eliminated the remaining military positions. The LRRS was converted to a Minimally Attended Radar Station (MARS) in 1986 which required even fewer personnel to reside at the installation while attending to the LRRS mission. The installation is currently in care-taker status with four personnel to operate and maintain the LRRS. The current military mission of the LRRS is for peacetime air surveillance as part of the Alaska Radar System (ARS) of the overall North American Air Defense (NORAD) Mission.

The LRRS is divided into two areas, the Upper Camp and the Lower Camp. The Upper Camp contains the radar dome facility and is connected to the Lower Camp by a road and tramway. Upper Camp is situated on a mountaintop at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. The Lower Camp area includes the runway, the composite building, fuel storage area, landfill, and other facilities.

aerial view of KingTopographic map of area. Click to see a larger image.

View of Lower Camp. (Courtesy of USAF)


View from tram at Lower Camp

View from tram at Lower Camp. (Courtesy of USAF)

The facility has a total of 9 Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites. Records of Decisions have been completed for 7 sites that are now closed or in a No Further Remedial Action Planned (NFRAP) and monitoring status. The remaining 2 IRP sites are in the cleanup and monitoring phase. 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.

Public Health and Environmental Concerns

The environmental concerns at Cape Newenham LRRS include:


  • Institutional control implementation and land use restrictions applied at the former dump sites and the landfills to limit contact and maintain containment of the buried contents;

  • Cap inspection and maintenance, and institutional controls implemented to restrict contact or migration of PCBs at Site SS07, PCBs at Upper Camp; and

  • Limit access to diesel contaminated soil at Site SS08 and POL tanks while it is being remediated.

People may be exposed to pollutants through vapor inhalation, direct contact with the skin, or accidental ingestion of contaminated soil at these sites if land use restrictions and cap maintenance are not sustained.


aerial view of KingTopographic map of area. Click to see a larger image.

SS07 (PCBs at Upper Camp), new arctic walkway, and Tram Building. (DEC photo)

Current Status


Institutional controls still need to be established and then maintained at several sites throughout the facility. Final decisions are pending on the need for additional cleanup, monitoring and/or instutional controls at site SS08 and the POL tanks. Public input will be sought through a proposed plan before these decisions are made. Cap inspection and maintenance will continue at Site SS07 and a 5-year review will be conducted in 2005/06.

Community involvement continues through fact sheets and newsletters.



More Information


  • All Around Alaska newsletter , July 2003 in three sections: (Zipped PDF 3.84M) (Zipped PDF 3.06M) (Zipped PDF 2.1M)

  • Record of Decision for No Further Action Status, 1988 (PDF 3.66M)
  • Proposed Plan for Cleanup at Upper Camp (SS07) and Drum Disposal Site (LF03), September 1999 (PDF 1.69M)

  • Decision Document for Drum Disposal Site (LF03), October 2000 (PDF 3.64M)

  • Decision Document for Upper Camp (SS07), November 2000 (PDF 6.55M)


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


  • LF02, Landfill No.1

  • LF03, Drum Disposal Site, Landfill No.2, and Waste Accumulation Areas 1 & 2

  • OT04, Road Oiling

  • OT05, White Alice Communications Site

  • POI-1, POL Tanks

  • SS01, Waste Accumulation Area No.3

  • SS07, PCBs at Upper Camp

  • SS08, UST at Lower Camp

  • WP06, Upper Camp Dump


Links off DEC pages
Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development Community Information Summary on Cape Newenham LRRS (select Platinum from the community list).