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SPAR Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Division of Spill Prevention and Response

What does the Division of Spill Prevention and Response do?
The Division of Spill Prevention and Response (SPAR) is responsible for protecting Alaska’s land, waters, and air from oil and hazardous substance spills by preventing, responding to and ensuring the cleanup of unauthorized discharges of oil and hazardous substances. The Division pursues this mission through three main objectives:
  1. Prevention,
  2. Preparedness and
  3. Response.

The core elements of each objective are implemented through the Division's three Programs:

  1. Contaminated Sites Program;
  2. Prevention Preparedness and Response Program;
  3. Response Fund Administration.
What does that acronym mean?
There are many abbreviations, specialized terms and acronyms the Division uses in documents regarding the prevention and cleanup of hazardous materials. Please refer to our Glossary/Acronyms webpage to see definitions for commonly used terms and acronyms.
What are the approvals, permits or authorizations required by the Division?
Please see the Prevention Preparedness and Response Manuals and Guidance Documents for a comprehensive listing of authorizations required by the Division.
What is required by law to prevent or cleanup releases of oil/petroleum or hazardous materials?
Please see our Statutes and Regulations webpages for a complete listing of the laws governing the Division.

Please see the Prevention Preparedness and Response Manuals and Guidance Documents for a comprehensive listing of authorizations required by the Division.

What guidance is available to help interpret the laws?
Please see the Guidance webpage for detailed information on spill prevention, spill preparedness and spill response.
Who can I contact for more information about the Division?
Kristin Ryan, Director
  • Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Division of Spill Prevention and Response
  • 410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 303
  • P.O. Box 111800
  • Juneau, AK 99811-1800
  • Telephone: 907-465-5250
  • Fax Number: 907-465-5262
  • Email:

Fact Sheets and Publications

Contaminated Sites Program

What does the Contaminated Sites Program do?
The mission of the Contaminated Sites Program is to protect public safety, human health and the environment by identifying, overseeing and conducting the cleanup and management at contaminated sites in Alaska and by preventing releases from underground storage tank systems and unregulated aboveground storage tanks.
What is a contaminated site?
A contaminated site is a location where hazardous substances, including petroleum products, have been improperly disposed, spilled or leaked from their containers. Many of these sites result from failed containment equipment and improper storage measures or disposal methods considered standard practices before we became aware of the problems or hazards they can cause. Contaminated sites often threaten public health or the environment and can cause economic hardship to people and communities.
Where are they located?
Contaminated sites may be associated with military, commercial or industrial activities, including oil production and storage operations, mining, and a wide variety of smaller enterprises where hazardous materials are used. In some instances, groundwater and surface waters have become so polluted that human health or the environment have been impaired or placed at risk. Some of these pollutants are known to cause increased incidences of cancer while others may contribute to health problems.
What is found at these sites?
Many different types of hazardous substances are found at contaminated sites in Alaska. Sites contaminated by petroleum products are by far the most common. The toxic nature of petroleum products can be quite high for "light" products such as gasoline or aviation fuel, which contain high levels of the most harmful "aromatic" constituents such as benzene. Benzene is a known cancer-causing agent (carcinogen). Aromatic compounds also tend to be the most easily dissolved in water and are responsible for making many drinking water sources in the state unfit for human use. Diesel fuels and the heavier petroleum products, although hazardous, have a much lower content of the most harmful constituents.

Other contaminated sites can have chlorinated solvents, heavy metals, synthetic organic pesticides, non-chlorinated solvents, and inorganic acids and bases. The most toxic of these tend to be the chlorinated compounds, including: chlorinated solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and herbicides, including dioxin-containing herbicides. The banned chlorinated pesticide DDT has also been found at several sites. Heavy metal contamination can also pose a serious threat to public health. Sites where improper disposal of lead acid batteries has occurred, or where mercury was once used in mining retort operations, typify sites where heavy metals are a concern. Chromium and arsenic also show up as heavy metal contaminants.

Threats to human health posed by these hazardous substances cover a wide range. Many of the chlorinated hydrocarbons and some of the heavy metals are known to be carcinogenic. A wide range of acute and chronic health effects may result from exposure to other compounds. Some compounds present both a carcinogenic and chronic health risk. In some cases the most important factors to consider in weighing the effects of contaminants may be ecological rather than human health based. This may be particularly true in remote locations where exposure to humans is less likely.

Who is responsible for cleanup?
In Alaska, about one-third of the sites in the DEC inventory are on federal lands, with most of these on military bases. Another one-third are privately owned and can include commercial and/or industrial properties. The rest are owned by the state and local governments. DEC participates with other local, state and federal agencies in cooperative cleanup operations. In most cases, the responsible parties contract with environmental consulting firms to clean up sites, with oversight provided by DEC staff. However, when a responsible party cannot be identified and a site is a serious threat to public health or the environment, the state may bear the cost of site investigation and/or cleanup. Although Alaska law requires that state funds be recovered from responsible parties, the responsible party is not always able to pay.
How are Alaskans affected?
Contamination of groundwater is the most serious problem in Alaska and the most costly to solve. Many sites currently listed on the inventory have drinking water which exceeds state and EPA health standards for contamination. Populations of fish and other wildlife, on which many Alaskans depend for subsistence, sport, and commercial harvest may be impaired. Contamination may also result in significant economic losses. For example, property transfers can be delayed or may not occur if a site is suspected or known to be contaminated.
What are the requirements for investigating and cleaning up Leaking Underground Storage Tank sites?
DEC has specific regulations that govern the identification, assessment, cleanup and closure of leaking UST sites. Because of the complex nature of contamination sampling and remediation, we recommend that you refer to Articles 2 and 3 of the UST regulations, 18 AAC 78, and the UST Procedures Manual. This fact sheet on the cleanup of leaking UST sites (PDF 494K) might be helpful.
What is Cost Recovery?
The State of Alaska is authorized, under Federal regulation 42 U.S.C. 699 1 b(h), to recover State funds used during oversight of a petroleum cleanup from a leaking underground storage tank (LUST). The State is also authorized by Alaska Statute 46.08.070 to recover money expended by the Department to contain or cleanup the release of oil or a hazardous substance, including petroleum. "Oversight" costs can include Department staff salaries, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts and services, and general program management. Typical cost expenditures for staff time can include, but are not limited to: performing plan reviews; drafting approval letters; attending site meetings; offering technical assistance via phone; and doing site visits or inspections.

If you have questions about Cost Recovery, please email

Who can I contact for more information about the Contaminated Sites Program?
John Halverson, Program Manager
  • Contaminated Sites Program
  • Spill Prevention and Response Division
  • Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • 555 Cordova St.
  • Anchorage, AK 99501-2617
  • Phone 907-269-3094
  • Fax 907-269-7649
  • Email

Underground Storage Tanks

What is the definition of an underground storage tank?
An underground storage tank or underground storage tank system means one or more stationary devices, including any connected underground pipes, designed to contain an accumulation of petroleum, of which the volume, including the volume of underground pipes, is 10% or more beneath the surface of the grade. DEC's definition is essentially the same as EPA's, although Alaska does not include tanks that store Hazardous Waste. Please see regulations governing UST's (18 AAC 78) for more information.
What types of underground tanks are not regulated by 18 AAC 78?
  • Tanks of any size storing heating oil for on-site consumption. See the Prevention Preparedness and Response Program's Heating Oil Tank webpage.
  • Any tanks less than 110 gallons capacity.
  • Any farm or residential motor fuel tank used for non commercial purposes that is less than 1,100 gallons capacity.
  • Hazardous waste storage tanks. More information…
  • Septic tanks. More information…
  • Pipeline facility. More information…
  • Tanks in basement or tunnel. More information…
  • Emergency overfill tanks that are emptied within 24 hours, or
  • Flow through process tanks.

Unsure of your situation? Contact DEC's UST Manager, Larry Brinkerhoff, for an interpretation at 907-269-3055, email:

What are the basic requirements to operate a regulated underground petroleum tank system in Alaska?
What about Registration Fees and Late Fees?
  • All active underground storage tanks owned by commercial, private and local government tank owners must pay an annual registration fee.
  • Fees are due on December 1 of the year preceding the registration year. UST registration expires on December 31 each year. (i.e.: 2003 fees were due December 31, 2002).
  • Fees received after the December 31 are considered late. There is a $10 per day late fee for each day fees are overdue. There are no exceptions.
  • Fee amounts:
    • Annual Fees for Upgraded Tank*: $50 per tank, regardless of size
      • * tank and piping must have leak detection, spill and overfill devices, and corrosion protection. No exceptions.
    • Annual Fees for Non-Upgraded Tank:
      • Less than 1,000 gallons: $150
      • 1,000 - 5,000 gallons: $300
      • Over 5,000 gallons: $500.00
  • Full fees for non-upgraded tanks will continue to be assessed for the registration year 2004.
What are the Leak Detection requirements?
Diagram of UST.

Options for Tanks include at least one of the following:

  • Automatic Tank Gauging
  • Interstitial Monitoring
  • Statistical Inventory Reconciliation (SIR)
  • Tank Tightness Testing (TTT) and Inventory Control (only allowed until December 22, 1998, or up to 10 years after installation or upgrade, whichever is later)
  • Manual Tank Gauging (only allowed for tanks 2000 gallons or less)

Options for Piping include at least one of the following:

For Pressurized Piping: You must have both

    • Automatic line leak detectors (ALLD) either flow restrictor, flow shut-off or continuous alarm capable of detecting a 3 gallon-per-hour leak in one hour. Learn more about ALLD's.


  • Annual line tightness testing or
  • Monthly monitoring (Interstitial monitoring, SIR, or an ALLD capable of detecting a 0.2 gph leak monthly).

For Suction Piping: You must have

  • Line tightness testing every three years, however,
  • No Leak Detection required for Suction Piping if piping system: operates at less than atmospheric pressure; slopes back to tank; and has check valve below suction pump.

For Leak Detection systems installed after December 22, 1990, the system must be able to detect a leak with a probability of detection of 95% and a probability of false alarm of 5%. One way an owner/operator can ensure that his/her UST system meets the "95/5" rule is to have the system evaluated by a independent third-party. A number of national and international firms specialize in leak detection performance evaluations.

Leak Detection Probation: For regulated underground storage tanks (USTs) required to be inspected, owners/operators must maintain one year of leak detection records for their UST system and provide them during inspection. Twelve consecutive months of leak detection records are required. An UST system can not receive a three year tag unless 8 of the 12 LD records are passing, including the last 2 consecutive months. If these requirements are not met, then the UST system will be placed on Leak Detection Probation. The terms of LD Probation are described in the fact sheet downloadable below. The cover letter also below is a fax cover sheet to be used by a certified inspector to transmit leak detection records to DEC.

What is required for spill and overfill devices?
  • All USTs must have a spill prevention device, such as a catchment basin, which should be routinely inspected and cleaned out.
  • All USTs must have an overfill prevention device, either using a high-level alarm, a ball float valve or an automatic shut-off device in the drop tube.
  • The owner or operator must ensure that a tank is measured prior to each delivery and ensure there is enough room in the tank to receive the fuel and that the entire transfer is monitored. UST owner and operators are encouraged to use DEC's new fuel delivery log, available soon.
What must be done to meet corrosion protection requirements?
  • All existing tanks and piping must have corrosion protection.
  • Corrosion protection options include: Non-metallic material such as fiberglass, galvanic or impressed impressed current cathodic protection or internal lining of tanks.
  • Cathodically protected systems must be tested every 3 years by a state certified tester or inspector.
  • Impressed current systems must be inspected very 60 days and the results logged.
What is involved in installing or upgrading a UST system?
How do I properly close an underground tank?
What forms do I fill out and when?
Please see the UST Forms links on our Guidance page.

If you do not have PDF file viewing software programs, or if your browser cannot download these documents, DEC can mail or fax you these forms by contacting 1-800-478-4974 in Alaska or 907-269-7500 outside of Alaska.

Who can I contact for more information about Underground Storage Tanks ?
Larry Brinkerhoff
  • UST Prevention Manager
  • Prevention Preparedness and Response Program
  • DEC Division of Spill Prevention and Response
  • 555 Cordova Street
  • Anchorage, AK 99501-2617
  • Telephone: 907-269-3055
  • Fax Number: 907-269-7687
  • Email Address:

Fact Sheets and Publications for the Contaminated Sites Program

Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program

Who can I contact for more information about the Prevention,Preparedness and Response (PPR) Program?
Contact the Unit Manager in your respective region or area of interest. PPR Contacts webpage

Terminals and Tank Farms—Aboveground Storage Tanks

What is the definition of an aboveground petroleum storage tank?
An aboveground storage tank or aboveground storage tank system means one or more devices, including any connected piping, designed to contain an accumulation of petroleum, of which the volume, including the volume of underground pipes, is 90% or more above the surface of the grade.
What are the laws and regulations governing aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) in Alaska?
Tanks located aboveground and storing petroleum products are divided into three distinct categories for regulation in the State of Alaska. There are federal, state, and local laws regulating each size of tank. DEC regulates the second and third category of tanks:
What should I do if I notice a leaking tank or a tank has a release of petroleum product into the environment?
Contact the DEC immediately
  • All releases of petroleum product into the environment are required by law to be reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Call the closest location to you.
  • Anchorage: 907-269-3063
  • Fairbanks: 907-451-2121
  • Juneau: 907-465-5340
  • Outside normal business hours call: 1-800-478-9300
Is there training available for operators of ASTs?
No, training is no longer provided by the DEC. There may be training offered through the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and/or the Denali Commission.
What are the regulations governing removal of old or unused aboveground tanks?
  • All USTs must have a spill prevention device, such as a catchment basin, which should be routinely inspected and cleaned out.
  • All USTs must have an overfill prevention device, either using a high-level alarm, a ball float valve or an automatic shut-off device in the drop tube.
  • The owner or operator must ensure that a tank is measured prior to each delivery and ensure there is enough room in the tank to receive the fuel and that the entire transfer is monitored. UST owner and operators are encouraged to use DEC's new fuel delivery log, available soon.
Is there funding available for helping clean up contaminated AST areas?
No. Currently there is funding only for upgrading tank farms in rural communities in Alaska. Funding for upgrades is available through the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and the Denali Commission.
What is the Denali Commission?
The Denali Commission Act of 1998 created the Denali Commission to implement federal-state partnerships to enhance critical utilities, infrastructure and support for economic development in Alaska. Please visit their website at for more information.
How can I get more information regarding aboveground petroleum storage tanks?
For information about Home Heating Oil Tanks, please contact the Unit Manager in your respective region. PPR Contacts webpage

For information about ASTs over 10,000 gallons within a regulated facility that stores over 420,000 gallons (refined product) or 210,000 gallons (crude oil), please contact:

  • Sarah Moore, Preparedness and Response Section Manager
  • Prevention Preparedness and Response Program
  • Telephone: 907-465-5239
  • Email:

Financial Responsibility

What is proof of Financial Responsibility?
Facilities that produce, transport or store large volumes of oil have the potential to cause significant financial damage to resources if an oil spill were to occur. Alaska requires certain operators to meet enhanced spill prevention and response standards. Before operating in Alaska, these same operators must meet minimum financial standards to mitigate damages if spill prevention and response fails. This is termed "proof of financial responsibility." An operator’s access to funds can be a key part to supporting a response.
Who needs a Certificate of Proof of Financial Responsibility?
Please see Do I need Proof of Financial Responsibility page for more detail. Here is a general list of facilities that require proof:
  • Oil tank farms
  • Crude oil transmission pipelines
  • Offshore oil platforms
  • Oil and gas exploration projects
  • Oil production facilities
  • Refineries
  • Oil tankers
  • Oil barges
  • Nontank vessels
  • Railroad tank car operators
  • Underground storage tanks
How much proof is required?
Every three years the Department adjusts the required financial responsibility amount for inflation. Per AS 46.04.045, the adjustment is determined using the Anchorage Consumer Price Index (CPI). For the latest amounts please see Current financial responsibility dollar amounts.
What kind of proof is accepted?
Proof may include:
  • Oil pollution insurance
  • Self-insurance
  • Surety bond
  • Letter of credit
  • Certificate of deposit
  • Financial guaranty
  • Protection and indemnity (P&I) coverage
When does my Certificate of Proof of Financial Responsibility expire?
The certificate will have the expiration date on it. It expires on the date of expiration of the bond, insurance, letter of credit, P&I cover, etc. For self-insurance, it expires annually.
Is there a fee?
No fee is required to apply for a Certificate of Proof of Financial Responsibility.
Does the proof I use for my USCG COFR meet Alaska requirements?
Not usually. Most federal COFR policies don’t meet the State of Alaska requirements.
Is a deductible allowed?
Nontank vessels are the only facilities that may have a deductible. The maximum deductible is $50,000. Supplemental coverage is required for a deductible for a nontank vessel over $50,000 or any deductible for all other facilities. Please see 18 AAC 75.271(d) or 18 AAC 75.250(d). Supplemental coverage can be provided by means of other acceptable proof (see “What kind of proof is accepted?”above) A “first dollar” provision for the deductible may be allowable (see 18 AAC 75.250(d) or 18 AAC 75.271(d)).
What happens to the proof of Financial Responsibility if there is an oil spill?
It is against the law to spill oil in Alaska. Every person who spills oil is responsible for cleaning up the spill and for pollution damages that may result. Claims for damages may be settled directly or may proceed through the court system. In the case of regulated operators, their proof of financial responsibility may be encumbered until claims have been settled or adjudicated and they may need to post additional proof to meet the requirements.
What is direct action?
Direct action is when a lawsuit is filed against an insured party and also their insurer. In the Alaska courts both the responsible party and the party who provides proof of financial responsibility (insurance company, guarantor, etc.) can be sued in a lawsuit for oil pollution damage claims related to AS 46.04.040. The party who provides proof can only be liable up to the limit of that coverage. The responsible party can be liable for the full cost of all damages - without limit.

Contingency Plans

What is an oil discharge prevention and contingency plan?
A contingency plan ensures that the plan holder has measures in place to prevent and respond to oil spills, thereby reducing the impact to public health and the environment. A contingency plan provides enough information to guide personnel during an emergency event to respond to a discharge of any size. In order to effectively do so, the plan must contain: emergency action procedures, facility diagrams, preventative programs including training programs and substance abuse monitoring, descriptions of oil transfer and storage procedures, an incident command system, response limitations, logistical support, available equipment and proof of best available technology use. Simply put, a contingency plan clearly identifies the who, what, when, where, and how for preventing and responding to oil spills. For more information, please see AS 46.04.030; AS 46.04.055; 18 AAC 75.400
Does my facility need a contingency plan?
The State of Alaska requires an approved oil discharge prevention and contingency plan for certain facilities. Below is a general list of facilities that require an approved plan. For more information, please see AS 46.04.030; AS 46.04.055, 18 AAC 75.400 and Do I Need a Contingency Plan?
What is a nontank vessel?
A nontank vessel is a self-propelled watercraft of more than 400 gross registered tons.* Examples include: commercial fishing vessels, commercial fish processing vessels, passenger vessels and cargo vessels, but does not include a tank vessel, oil barge or public vessel. For more information on nontank vessels, please see AS 46.04.900(11).

*Alaska uses the USCG definition at 33 CFR 138.30 for gross tonnage.

What if I intend to bring a tank vessel or oil barge, not listed in my plan, into State waters temporarily?
A spot charter is a single voyage entry into Alaskan waters for the purpose of transporting oil or petroleum products in bulk by a vessel that is temporarily added to an existing contingency plan by amendment. The spot charter amendment must be approved by DEC prior to the vessel entering State waters. Each time a plan holder intends to bring a spot charter vessel into State waters, the plan holder must submit an application for amendment that includes a spot charter information packet which references the approved contingency plan and supplies additional vessel specific information. At a minimum, the spot charter information packet must include the items listed in the Spot Charter Checklist. For more information on spot charter amendments, please see 18 AAC 75.415.
I already have a federal contingency plan. Do I also need one for the State?
Yes. The Federal and State governments have separate regulations for oil discharge prevention and contingency plans. One plan may be developed containing regulatory components of both governments and submitted to both state and federal regulatory agencies to meet applicable regulations. For more information on state requirements for an oil discharge prevention and contingency plan, please see AS 46.04.030; AS 46.04.055, 18 AAC 75.400; 18 AAC 75.425.
Is there an example of a contingency plan that I can review and copy?
DEC does not have sample plans available for use. A plan application (PDF 185K) and a plan guidance document (PDF 4.2M) are available on the DEC website to assist with the preparation of a plan. The plan holder must schedule a pre-application consultation meeting with DEC. During the meeting, some of the topics that may be covered are: the plan holder’s obligations, facility or regionally specific requirements, plan contents and approval criteria, and public review process. For more information on oil discharge prevention and contingency plan content requirements, please see 18 AAC 75.425 and Apply for a Contingency Plan.
When and how do I make an amendment to my plan?
A plan holder must apply for a plan amendment any time changes need to be made to a plan, regardless of how minor the changes may be. It is up to the plan holder to ensure that the plan continuously complies with state regulatory requirements and the plan holder can meet plan commitments. Amendments can include adding new regions of operation and updating notification lists to amending response capabilities as primary response action contractors revise their own response capabilities. To make an amendment, the plan holder must submit an amendment application package. Once DEC receives the amendment application package, the package will be evaluated to determine if the amendment is a routine update, or minor or major amendment. If it is a routine update or minor amendment, DEC can approve it without a public comment period. If it is a major amendment the review procedures under 18 AAC 75.455, which contains a public review period, are followed. For more information on plan amendments, please see 18 AAC 75.415; and Apply for a Contingency Plan.
How long does it take to get a plan amendment approved?
How long is a nontank vessel plan valid for?
Plan approvals are generally valid for 5 years; however, nontank vessels may suspend or terminate a plan prior to that time. It is the plan holder's responsibility to check the approval status of existing plans prior to arriving in State waters. For more information on nontank vessel plans, please see 18 AAC 75.421 and 18 AAC 75.456.
When do I renew my contingency plan?
An application package must be submitted at least 180 days, or the number of days stated in the plan approval letter, in advance of the expiration of the plan. Plans are generally approved for 5 years. The same application is used for renewing a plan as for applying for a plan. For more information on plan renewals, please see 18 AAC 75.420 and Apply for a Contingency Plan.
What is an oil spill Primary Response Action Contractor (PRAC)?
A PRAC is an organization registered with the State of Alaska that is obligated under a contractual relationship with a contingency plan holder to provide personnel and/or equipment to contain, control, or clean up oil spills for the plan holder. A PRAC may be under contract to multiple plan holders, please see 18 AAC 75.500.
As a plan holder, do I need to contract with a PRAC?
A plan holder must either maintain on their own, or have available under contract, the resources to clean up a spill. A contract with a PRAC, who has the resources available to meet the cleanup needs of the plan holder, can meet this requirement, please see AS 46.04.030(k) AS 46.04.055(j). If the contract status with your PRAC changes or your PRAC changes, you must notify DEC.
As a nontank plan holder, do I need to hire contractors?
An operator must contract cleanup and incident management services for the plan and may hire a Response Planning Facilitator (RPF) to secure response contracts, prepare the plan application and submit it for approval. Here is the list of registered nontank contractors.
How do I locate a PRAC that is registered with the State of Alaska?
The State of Alaska maintains a list of approved Primary Response Action Contractors that can be found at Primary Response Action Contractors.
What is the requirement for an Alaska Certificate of Financial Responsibility?
A Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) is issued to a plan holder when the plan holder has provided to the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Department has approved, proof of ability to financially respond in damages. For more information on financial requirements, please see AS 46.04.040, AS 46.04.055 and Financial Responsibility and Prevention Initiatives.
What are the penalties for not having a contingency plan?
Operation of a facility in the State without an approved contingency plan is a violation of Alaska statutes and regulations and may subject the owner/operator to civil liability for damages and to civil and criminal penalties. Civil and criminal sanctions may also be imposed for any violation of AS 46.04.010, et. seq., any regulation issued there under or any violation of a lawful order of DEC. The exact penalties imposed, if any, will depend on the nature of the violation. For more information on penalties and sanctions, please see 18 AAC 75.490; AS 46.03.760.
Why does DEC conduct inspections?
DEC conducts announced and unannounced inspections of facilities that require a contingency plan. Inspections are performed to ensure that the plan holder is in compliance with their plan. Response equipment inspections are conducted to ensure that the essential equipment listed on in the plan is response ready and capable of being used as intended in a response. DEC can conduct inspections as often as it deems necessary to ensure compliance with oil spill regulations and contingency plans. Following an inspection, if issues are identified, DEC will work with the plan holder to resolve them. Serious problems could result in a Notice of Violation or other corrective action(s) under 18 AAC 75.490. For more information on inspections, please see 18 AAC 75.480.
Why does DEC conduct discharge exercises (drills)?
DEC may conduct announced or unannounced discharge exercises with any plan holder twice a year to verify the plan holder's ability to carry out the spill prevention and response strategies described in the contingency plan. If problems are identified, DEC may choose to conduct additional discharge exercises. Any or all aspects of a contingency plan may be verified during a discharge exercise. Discharge exercises may range from focused table-top exercises to large-scale equipment deployments. Following a discharge exercise, if issues are identified, DEC will work with the plan holder to resolve them. For more information on drills, please see 18 AAC 75.485 and Spill Response Exercise Improvements.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

Do I need any Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permits if my project is authorized by the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Section (SPCS)?
The SPCS can give approval for matters under the authority of ADNR regulations. However, DEC administers the environmental regulations within the State of Alaska and you must have any permits required by DEC in order to operate. If you are unsure of permit needs contact the DEC JPO liaison for assistance.
Do I need to discuss my pipeline/camp/wastewater/drinking water/temporary camp plans with DEC even if I have approval from another State or federal agency?
Yes. DEC is the administrator for Alaska environmental statutes and regulations. Other state or federal agencies administer their own different authorities and cannot approve activities governed by DEC Regulations. If your project involves discharges to water, such as a wastewater, you should contact the Division of Water to determine if you require a DEC permit. If you plans include emissions or to the air, a generator, an incinerator, power generation, you should contact the Division of Air and inquire if your activity will require a permit. If your project will generate solid waste, include worker housing or food service, or if your plans include the use or application of any form of pesticide you should contact the Division of Environmental Health. If you are unsure of permit needs contact the DEC JPO liaison for assistance.
How do I contact staff at DEC regarding TAPS?
Go to the DEC web page and follow the links to Division information to find the appropriate contact person for you question. Or, you can call the DEC JPO liaison for help in finding the information and contacts you need.
Who do I call when I see something wrong on the TAPS corridor?
There are several places you can report a problem. If you see a spill, report it to DEC. If you notice something that is not a spill, you can notify the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Section, or the US BLM Branch of Pipeline Monitoring. You may also contact the DEC JPO liaison.

Response Fund Administration

What is Cost Recovery Program?
Under the authority given to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the department has developed and implemented a “Cost Recovery Program”. This program will be responsible to seek reimbursement for cost incurred in the cleanup or containment of oil or hazardous substance releases from those responsible for the spill or contamination.
What is the Alaska Statute governing the Cost Recovery Program?
Alaska Statute Section 46.08.070 authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to promptly seek reimbursement for the costs incurred by the State in the cleanup or containment of oil or a hazardous substance that has been released in the environment.
Who is responsible for the cleanup of contaminated environments?
The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible to ensure that cleanup of a release of oil or a hazardous substance is done in a way that protects human health and the environment or that appropriate steps are taken to contain a threatened release. Generally, the owner and/or operator of a vessel or facility from which a release or threatened release of oil or a hazardous substance occurs or the owner of property contaminated by oil or any hazardous substance are responsible for cost incurred by the state for oversight, assessment, cleanup, containment and other related response activities.
What are the costs charged to the responsible party (RP)?
Both direct and indirect costs incurred by the state for response to a release or threatened release of oil or a hazardous substance, as well as costs incurred for cleanup or remediation of a contaminated site are charged to the responsible party.

Direct Costs may include the following:

DEC's staff salaries and benefits such as health care, and employer payroll taxes. These costs are billed using an annually calculated standard hourly rate, by job classification. Direct personnel costs attributable to a site may include but are not limited to, time spent by DEC staff to:

  • Consult with the owner/or environmental consultants
  • Visit the site (travel & perdiem)
  • Review data and reports describing the type and extent of contamination
  • Review proposed cleanup actions
  • Provide comments and/or direction on the preferred cleanup method or remedy
  • Provide information about the site and opportunities for the general public to comment on the cleanup

Other direct cost includes but are not limited to :

  • Travel and per diem
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Legal Services

Indirect Costs are those costs associated with operating the department and providing administrative and clerical support to department programs. Typical indirect costs may include:

  • Office space, office equipment and supplies
  • Supplies and equipment used in site investigations and other field activities
  • Non-site specific activities of project staff, such as training and program administration
  • Clerical and administrative support
  • Management supervision
  • Development of technical guidance and policies
  • Centralized services, such as accounting, budgeting, human resources, and information systems.
How are the indirect rates established?
The DEC's indirect rate is negotiated with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is also used to chargecosts against Federal grants and cooperative agreements. Current year indirect rate is 36.98%.
How is the Cost Recovery Program hourly rate established?
The standard hourly rate for regular time is established by averaging the actual quarterly cost of positions by job class, then adding the indirect rate to the average hourly rate.

Specific steps for calculating the standard hourly rate are as follows: 1) the actual costs for salaries and benefits for one quarter of a fiscal year for each job class utilized by DEC are totaled, then divided by the number of positions in that job class, for a quarterly average; 2) the quarterly average is multiplied by 4 for a yearly average; 3) the yearly average is divided by 1763 *regular time hours in a year to get the average hourly rate; 4) indirect is added to the average hourly rate to get the standard hourly rate charged.

*Regular time hours in a year are calculated as follows: 365 (days in a year ) minus 104 ( weekends ) minus 11 ( holidays ) minus 15 ( average number of annual and sick days ) equal 235 work days x 7.5 ( daily work hours ) equal 1762.5 hours, rounded up to 1763.

What other State Departments are involved in enforcing the cost recovery?
The DEC's enforcement of the cost recovery is through the State's Department of Law.
Who can I contact for more information about the Response Fund Administration?
Olivia Napoli-Fultz, Program Manager
  • Response Fund Administration
  • DEC Division of Spill Prevention and Response
  • 410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 303
  • P.O. Box 111800
  • Juneau, AK 99811-1800
  • Telephone: 907-465-5270
  • Fax Number: 907-465-5262
  • Email: