Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Northway Staging Field

Incident location map. Summary Date: September 2008 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status: Closure Complete - Institutional Controls Database Name: search for the 11 sites in OU3 by entering "Northway Staging Field OU3" in the Site Name field.
Location: Northway, AK Latitude/Longitude: see individual site entries on database
DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: No longer assigned - 907-465-5390
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contact: 907-753-5539



Northway Staging Field is located in eastern Alaska near the Canadian border, approximately 285 air miles northeast of Anchorage and 240 air miles southeast of Fairbanks. Northway Airport, which forms the west-central portion of the site, is located approximately seven miles southwest of the Alaska Highway along Northway Road. Northway Village is located approximately two miles northwest of the airport.

The Northway Staging Field Site consists of approximately 11.5 square miles in the vicinity of Northway Airport. Forty-eight (48) individual areas of concern were initially identified at the Northway Staging Field site, and were later expanded to 52 areas during the focused remedial investigations, which occurred in 1994 and 1995.

Operable Unit 3 (OU3), includes 11 of the 52 areas of concern. A No Further Action (NFA) / No Department of Defense Action Indicated (NDAI) decision document was signed for OU1 in December 2002. OU1 included 31 of the 52 areas of concern. The remaining ten areas are undergoing further remedial investigation and/or action and will be addressed under separate decision documents. Each area of concern contained varying amounts of surface debris and was a possible source of contaminants.

The U.S. Department of the Army originally acquired the Northway Staging Area from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Construction of the Northway airport began in the spring of 1941 by Morrison Knudson Construction Company. The air base served as a refueling and maintenance stop along the string of air bases used to supply troops stationed in Alaska and transport planes to the Soviet Union as part of the lend-lease program. During World War II, the airport served as a refueling depot for aircraft and as a staging area for work on the Alaskan Highway, the Canadian Oil (CANOL) pipeline project, and a defense fuel pipeline. During the height of operations at Northway, hundreds of buildings were built, including aircraft hangars, warehouses, movie theaters, garages, warehouses, a sawmill, powerhouse, machine ship, and dozens of barracks. By the end of World War II the Army no longer used the site, and until 1966 the site was! largely owned and operated by the CAA and then the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 1966, the FAA transferred the right to use the lands and airport facilities to the State of Alaska.

The Northway Staging Field Site is currently owned by various federal, state and private entities. The principal landowners include Northway Natives, Inc. and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF). ADOT&PF facilities include Northway Airport and the associated support facilities for aviation fueling and repair operations. Northway Natives, Inc. and private citizens own much of the land surrounding the ADOT&PF property. Some private residences are located east of the airport along Northway Road.


Public Health and Environmental Concerns


Sampling activities conducted during the field investigations included sediment, surface water, surface soil, subsurface soil, and groundwater sampling. Surface soil and sediment samples were collected from worst-case potential contaminant sources, or in areas most likely to receive runoff from sources, such as small delta areas. Surface water samples obtained from lakes were collected from two depths at each sampling point, and were located near areas that contained drums or debris. Soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells were located around the perimeter of lakes or dumps to characterize potential contamination emanating from the area, or were located within a specific potential source area to evaluate the presence of subsurface contaminants. The sampling indicated that petroleum compounds were exceeding risk based levels at some locations.


Current Status


A Proposed Plan, summarizing the preferred cleanup strategy and its rationale, was published for public comment (downloadable below) from May 11th to June 10th, 2004. All the cleanup requirements for this site have been met. The detailed information is provided in the No DOD Action Indicated Report January 2004. The remedies for FUDS-eligible areas of concern within the sites included in OU3 are protective of human health and the environment and comply with ARARs. The toxicity, volume, and mobility of contaminants have been reduced by removal of the primary sources of contamination (i.e. the drums, debris or contaminated soil). Specifically, confirmation sampling has verified that applicable cleanup levels have been achieved. Confirmation sample results provide assurance that the sites no longer pose an unacceptable threat to human health or the environment. A complete reference of all reports relevant to this area are available at the Administrative Record holding area in the office of the Alaska District, Corps of Engineers. Access to these documents can be obtained by calling the Programs and Project Management Division for Formerly Used Defense Sites at (907) 753-5539.

Map of area.

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