Division of Spill Prevention and Response


Sitka Naval Operating Base

Incident location map. Summary Date: April 2005 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status: Active Database Name: Sitka Naval Operating Base
Location: Japonski Island, Sitka, AK Latitude/Longitude: See database entry
DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Anne Marie Palmieri, Project Manager - 907-766-3184 



In 1890, The U.S. Department of the Navy acquired Japonski Island as part of the Sitka Naval Reservation. The Navy designated it as a Naval Operating Base in 1942. The Base contained a naval air station, subordinate naval shore activities, radio station, hospital, naval section base and marine barracks. The Sitka NOB was the maine Navy float plane facility in southeast Alaska during World War II. In 1944, the NOB was removed from service and in 1946, portions of the property were transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for use as a school and a hospital. The 65-acre former Sitka NOB site is now owned by the U.S. Public Health Service (hospital); Alaska Department of Education (Mt. Edgecumbe High School); and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (portions of the airport).

In 1991, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed a preliminary site evaluation at the Sitka NOB as part of their Formerly Used Defense Site program. In 1994 and 1995, the Corps removed and disposed of fuel storage tanks and underground fuel pipelines. The Corps performed a remedial investigation from 1994-1996 in order to determine the nature and extent of any contamination. The site was divided up into areas of similar useage, such as tank farms or housing. In 1999, the Corps excavated and thermally treated 4400 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil and sent 1070 tons of lead-contaminated soil to a permitted landfill in Oregon.


Public Health and Environmental Concerns


In 2003, the DEC approved groundwater cleanup levels at the Sitka NOB based on the fact that the groundwater is not a current or future source of drinking water. Lead and diesel-range organics concentrations in groundwater do not exceed these higher cleanup levels.


In 2004, DEC approved soil cleanup levels of ten-times the default levels, corresponding with the higher cleanup levels for groundwater. Contaminants of concern are petroleum hydrocarbons from the former fuel tanks and pipelines.


Current Status


In 2002, soil and sediment samples were collected in "Area F" a former tank farm location now owned by the U.S. Public Health Service. Future planes for this area include the construction of a building associated with the hospital. In 2005, the Corps plans to excavate 18,000 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil and thermally treat it on-site. Additional buried fuel lines will be removed and disposed of out-of-state.

Long-term monitoring of groundwater wells in the various areas will continue to occur, as needed. In 2006, the Corps and DEC will determine what additional work, if any, is needed prior to site closure.


More Information


Topographic map of site.