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Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Updated: Aug. 1, 2014

Technical Project Team - North Pole Refinery



In March of 2010, The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Contaminated Sites Program created a Technical Project Team (TPT) to provide comprehensive and coordinated oversight for the sulfolane release investigation at the North Pole Refinery. The team consisted of technical representatives from DEC, the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Flint Hills, and Williams Tesoro. Each contributed experts in toxicology, engineering, hydrology, environmental chemistry and other relevant fields, and the team was coordinated by a professional facilitator.


The fundamental goal of this technical team was to collectively address the unprecedented nature of the sulfolane contamination, and to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. Meetings were held to guide the efforts, with greater frequency in the early stages of the project. In March 2014, the State filed a lawsuit against the current and former owners of the North Pole Refinery. Due to these legal developments, regular communications are now occurring through the attorneys for the parties. DEC continues oversight of the site investigation and cleanup, however.





The TPT formed six sub-groups to address specific aspects of the project:
Chemistry, Communications, Drinking Water, Site Characterization and Remediation, Human Health and Toxicology, and Emerging Contaminants.

Chemistry Subgroup


To ensure only high quality data are used for risk evaluation and cleanup.

To maintain lines of communication among TPT members and to ensure all stakeholders are informed on the project status.


To ensure an alternate permanent drinking water supply for all impacted areas.


To ensure a thorough investigation of the sources and extent of contamination, and to oversee the control and cleanup of the contamination.


To evaluate the potential risk of adverse health effects caused from the exposure to contaminants from the North Pole refinery’s history of spills.


To understand the characteristics of sulfolane;
and evaluate
the need for regulatory change.


The TPT was just one component in a much larger organization of local, state, and federal government agencies, the responsible parties, and contractors.  The organization chart below shows how all of these entities interrelated and interacted to accomplish the shared goal of protecting human health and the environment in the affected area.


Click the image below to view the primary State and Federal agencies involved (updated Feb. 2014):

Org chart of all the entities involved in the North Pole Refinery Sulfolane Project



Technical Project Team Documents


Note: Each TPT meeting included a current report on the activities of subgroups.


Description (click on text to download file)
October 23, 2013, Meeting
August 28, 2013, Meeting
Feb. 21, 2013, Meeting
Jan. 8, 2013, Meeting
Oct. 30, 2012, Meeting
Sept. 25, 2012, Meeting
July 25, 2012, Meeting
June 26, 2012, Meeting
May 1, 2012, Meeting
Jan. 18, 2012, Meeting
Dec. 1, 2011, Meeting
Oct. 14, 2011, Meeting
Sept. 14, 2011, Meeting
Aug. 24, 2011, Meeting
June 23, 2011, Meeting
May 17, 2011, Meeting
March 30, 2011, Meeting
Feb. 16, 2011, Meeting
Dec. 14, 2010, Meeting
Nov. 3, 2010, Meeting
Sept. 14, 2010, Meeting
July 14, 2010, Meeting
June 18, 2010, Meeting
May 6, 2010, Meeting
April 15, 2010, Meeting