Division of Spill Prevention and Response


King Salmon Air Station - Rapids Camp

Incident location map. Summary Date: September 2009 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status:  Active Other Name: Naknek I Recreation Camp
Location: Rapids Camp, Alaska Latitude/Longitude: See individual site entries

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

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


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

Topographic map of King Salmon and site location.


The Naknek I Recreation Camp (also known as Rapids Camp) functioned as an off-base recreational facility of the King Salmon Air Station. 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. Rapids Camp was part of a 1952 United States Air Force (USAF) project aimed at constructing morale, recreation, and welfare facilities; Rapids Camp was established for military personnel and their families. The camp is situated on the northern bank of the Naknek River, approximately six miles southeast of the Air Station. The camp occupies about 12.5 acres of land. The facility operated until 1977 providing hunting, fishing, and camping services, and contained equipment and structure to support outdoor activities (boat docks, fish camps, lodging, a landfill, and a fuel storage area). A cost study by the General Accounting Office directed the USAF to consider closing the camp; the USAF responded by closing the camp on a temporary basis in 1975. In 1978, a fire occurred near the boat dock; all remaining buildings, tanks, and other structures have been removed from the sites. Land use in the area includes residential and recreational uses.

The facility has been divided into seven zones based on similarities in groundwater movement, contaminants of concern, geology, and location; these zones include the five areas within the King Salmon vicinity and two recreational areas east of King Salmon. Forty Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites and 15 areas of concerns have been identified at King Salmon Air Station and are at various stages of investigation, cleanup, monitoring, or closure. There were seven locations investigated at Rapids Camp, which include:


  • former helicopter pad

  • SS05 - beach/dock area

  • SS04 - former generator pad

  • LF03 - landfill

  • former Quonset hut area

  • stairway from huts to the beach

  • ST01 - former septic tanks


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.

The following remedial actions were conducted in 1998:


  • Excavation of contaminated soils to a depth of five feet in the former generator pad area, and treatment in the facility bioremediation cells. Following confirmation sampling, the excavated area was capped with clean soil and revegetated;

  • Collection and disposal of surface debris and solid waste. This effort included the recovery, characterization, and transport of 58 drums found throughout the Rapids Camp area;

  • Removal of two septic tanks from an area south of the former generator pad;

  • Capping of the landfill area with a layer of clean soil and revegetation of the area with grass;

  • Installation of groundwater monitoring wells and well points;

  • Collection of groundwater samples from all monitoring wells and points;

  • Collection of surface soil samples throughout the site area;

  • Collection of surface water and sediment samples along the Naknek River beach/dock area.


To achieve site closure, contaminated soil from two areas identified during the 1998 remedial actions was excavated and treated in the facility bioremediation cells. Following confirmation sample collection, clean soil was used to fill the excavations.


Public Health and Environmental Concerns


The environmental concerns at Rapids Camp include:


  • DRO-contaminated soil remaining in the subsurface greater than 5 feet below the ground surface; and

  • Exposure to potentially hazardous substances in the landfill if the vegetated cover is disturbed.


There is no risk to human exposure from DRO-contaminated soil left in the subsurface and landfill contents, unless excavation into the former generator pad area or landfill area is conducted without using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Private drinking water wells are used in the area; however no contaminants have been detected in the site groundwater since 1994, and residential well sampling has shown no site-related contaminants.

Current Status


A final Record of Decision was completed and signed by DEC and USAF in April 2000. The Proposed Plan was sent out for public comment in March 1998, and a fact sheet followed the Proposed Plan in June 1999. Based on the current site conditions at Rapids Camp and the successful implementation of interim remedial actions in 1998 and 1999, the selected remedial actions include:


  • institutional controls consisting of land use restrictions (no installation of drinking water wells and soil excavation within 100 feet of the former generator pad and the landfill, or construction on the landfill) and documentation within USAF land use plans and State land records;

  • inspection and maintenance of the landfill cover;

  • continued annual groundwater monitoring at the landfill; and

  • 5-year reviews to ensure no unacceptable risk or threat to public health or the environment remains at the site.

Community involvement continues through fact sheets/newsletters, public meetings, DEC e-mail updates, and Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings with DEC, the Air Force, and the community.

Images courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

More Information

Contaminated Sites Database reports - All four individual sites associated with the King Salmon Rapids Camp have been closed. All have some kind of land use or activity controls (or "institutional controls") placed upon them. Follow the link to see the database reports and access the closure details reports. We have a glossary available to help you with any acronyms used in the reports.