Division of Spill Prevention and Response

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Sitka Tank Farm


Incident location map. Summary Date: December 2004 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status: Active Database Name: Sitka Tank Farm
Location: 329 Katlian Street, Sitka, AK Latitude/Longitude See database entry
DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Bill Janes, Project Manager – 907-465-5208
Sitka tank farm in 1946

Sitka's tank farm in this 1946 photo sits on a hill above homes and
businesses at the edge of the harbor.

Description

 

The Sitka Tank Farm site is located at 329 Katlian Street in Sitka. The site is located in a residential area of Sitka, surrounded by small lots sizes and mostly older homes. It sits on a bluff above the channel, with houses directly below and to each side.The Unocal operation distributed and stored bulk fuels from 1937 until it was closed in September 1991. Fuel stored in the 10 above-ground tanks included diesel, aviation fuel, heating oil and gasoline. A marine fuel dock and truck and trailer loading rack were located at the Sitka Sound dock in the Sitka Harbor channel. The tanks and above-ground fuel piping were removed in the mid-1990s. The former tank farm was equipped with an underground oil/water separator, four storm drain inlets, and an earthen berm to contain and treat stormwater drainage. Drainage water, although clean at this time, still passes through the oil/water separator and a storm drain line to the harbor. DEC's first records of spill reports begin in 1990 when Unocal reported sheen and oil discovered in their observation wells.The potential was noted for contaminated soils and leachate from the tank farm to migrate off-site to residences in the area. Unocal submitted a plan for remediation and work began. Thirteen rounds of sampling have been conducted at the former bulk plant since 1992.

 


Public Health and Environmental Concerns

 

The contaminants of concern are primarily petroleum-related: diesel-range organics, gasoline-range organics and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Some lead contamination exists but is from lead paint used on the above-ground portion of the fuel distribution pipeline rather than leaded gasoline. Petroleum-contaminated soil remains on-site and under several properties nearby, but is very difficult to clean up because of the close proximity of buildings, utilities and other infrastructure. Shallow groundwater was contaminated slightly above cleanup levels in the past, but has naturally decreased with time. Groundwater in the area is not used for drinking water.

 


Current Status

 

A baseline risk assessment, finalized in December 2004, shows human health risks from residual contamination to be minimal. Lead abatement along the former pipeline corridor will be initiated in the near future.

 


More Information

 

  • Final Risk Assessment, December 2004 (PDF 2.88M)

View facing northeast of former Sitka Tank Farm site, inside fenced enclosure. Berms surrounding tanks are now covered with vegetation. Tanks were removed in mid-1990s.
View from the face of the site at the top of bluff, facing southeast. Pipelines to transfer product from barges ran along the pathway shown. Sitka Harbor and Sitka Sound docks appear on the shore.

View facing northeast of former Sitka Tank Farm site, inside fenced enclosure. Berms surrounding tanks are now covered with vegetation. Tanks were removed in mid-1990s.

Photo by DEC, 2003.

View from the face of the site at the top of bluff, facing southeast. Pipelines to transfer product from barges ran along the pathway shown. Sitka Harbor and Sitka Sound docks appear on the shore.

Photo by DEC, 2003