Division of Spill Prevention and Response


West Nome Tank Farm

Incident location map. Summary Date: August 2004 View detailed information from database on this site.arrow
Status:  Active Database Name: Former West Nome Tank Farm
Location: Nome, Alaska Latitude/ Longitude: See database entry

DEC Contaminated Sites Contact: Sharon Richmond , Project Manager - 907-451-2158

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The U.S. Air Force (USAF), ChevronTexaco, and Crowley Maritime Corporation have individually operated the former West Nome fuel tank farm since the 1950s. The USAF is the current property owner. Substantial releases of petroleum products have occured at this site. Contamination has migrated underground onto the property across Port Road. The tank farm closed in 1991. The contamination remains, however, and the three entities are working cooperatively with the City of Nome and Nome Joint Utilities to address it.

Contaminated soil and groundwater have delayed construction of a water and sewer line which will cross the property. The intended recipients of the water and sewer service have plumbing in place upstream and downstream of the tank farm but the connecting lines are planned to go through a highly contaminated area that is saturated with fuel (free product).


Public Health and Environmental Concerns


The primary contaminants of concern are diesel-range organics (DRO) and benzene. Low levels of DRO (less than 15 parts per million) have been detected in Snake River sediments. There are also low levels of benzene in Snake River sediments (less than 10 parts per billion).

Analysis of sediment collected from the Snake River (in the harbor area) indicates that contamination has migrated to the river. The Nome Tank Farm is located near a portion of the river that serves as the Nome Harbor. Contaminant releases at the tank farm have occurred over the last 50 years. There have also been other spills in the area and another tank farm is located across the river from the West Nome Tank Farm.

The sediment sampling was designed to determine the impact to the portion of the river adjacent to this site. Samples of fish tissue were not taken. A petroleum sheen on the water has not been observed. If fish or other organisms contain high levels of contaminants it would be very difficult to assign responsibility to a single party or source. DEC's primary objective for the Nome Tank Farm is to stop off-site migration of contamination. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Office of Epidemiology is the state entity responsible for making statements regarding the safety of consuming fish. Epidemiology has suggested that people eating Nome Harbor fish should rely on common sense and their own judgment and avoid collecting foods from areas that are obviously impacted by oil.


Stockpiled soil will be put on liners, with leachate treated.

Contaminated soil from excavation will be stockpiled on this impermeable liner until the treatment method is selected. Contaminated water from the stockpile will be pumped through an oil/water separator before being discharged into the city's wastewater treatment facility. (ADEC photo)

Current Status


After reviewing the results of the sediment sampling, DEC has determined that the responsible parties can limit their efforts to treatment of the source area. The three responsible parties, along with DEC and the city of Nome, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make clear each one's part in the cleanup and remediation work and to establish a timeline for remedial activity.

DEC approved a work plan submitted by ChevronTexaco. Currently, that company is coordinating with Nome Joint Utilities during the utility upgrade and the construction of a free product recovery system designed to stop migration of contamination offsite. Chevron's consultant is also performing the field work necessary to segregate soil so the utilidor for the water and sewer lines can go in. Excavation for the recovery system and the utilidor trench will generate up to 12,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.  Some soil will be returned to the trench, some will be disposed of in Nome's landfill, and some will require treatment. Bioremediation is one treatment option being considered.

Soil will be stockpiled until the method for treatment is chosen. Soil will be placed on a liner, then covered, and any contaminated water from the stockpile will be pumped through an oil/water separator before discharged into the city's wastewater treatment facility (see photo)


More Information


Contaminated Sites Database report - A report on the status of the West Nome Tank Farm is available on ADEC's database. We have a glossary available to help you with any acronyms used in the reports. For more information and updates on this site, please see the database entry--link at top of page.

Links off DEC pages

Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development Community Information Summary on Nome (select Nome from community list).