Division of Spill Prevention and Response

Breadcrumbs

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary/Acronyms
AAC EDB MSD RA
ACL EE/CA MSO RAB
ACS EPA NAPL RCRA
ADDS PAC EPCRA NFRAP RD
ADEC ESA NCP RI/FS
AHRM ESE NOI RF & RFA
ARARS ETM NOV ROD
ARRT FAA NPDES RP
AST FCO NPFC RRO
ATSDR FOSC NPL SART
BRAC

FS

OHSRPRF SARA
BTEX FUDS OU SCP
CAFR FY PA SEAPRO
CCGD17 FWS PAHs SERVS
CERCLA GIS PCBs SITREP
CIRCAC GRO PCE SOC
CISPRI HAZMAT POL SVE
Corps or COE IAP POLREP TAG
CS (CSP) IC PPA TAPP
CSM IRA ppb TCE
DEC IRP ppm TSCA
DERP JPO PRP UST
DEW line LNAPL PWSRCAC
DNAPL LUST QA/QC UXO
DOD MCL QP VOC
DRO MOA   WACS

bullet Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Glossary of Terms
bullet EPA's List of drinking water contaminants
bullet Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms


A

Aboveground Storage Tank (AST): 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.


Accidents (Cause): Spills caused by accidents may be categorized as follows: collision/allision; derailment; grounding; rollover/capsize; and well blow-out.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): A federal agency established under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to perform specific functions concerning the effect on public health of hazardous substances in the environment. Specific functions include health assessments and health studies.

 ATSDR website.


Airborne Dispersant Delivery System Package ("ADDS PAC" or "ADDS Pack"): sometimes also referred to as Airborne Dispersant Distribution System Package, ADDS PAC refers to the pre-packaged hardware that is loaded into a C-130 that stores and delivers dispersants through a spray bar system out the back of the plane.


Air Sparging: A technique to treat contaminated groundwater. Compressed air is injected into the groundwater through specially designed wells. The air moves upward through the groundwater and soil, releasing the contaminant as vapor which may be extracted and treated using a soil vapor extraction system.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196 K)


Air Stripping: A treatment system that removes or “strips” volatile organic compounds from contaminated groundwater or surface water by forcing an airstream through the water and causing the volatile compounds to dissipate.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196 K)


Alaska Administrative Code (AAC): The State of Alaska's regulations form the Alaska Administrative Code, and they are adopted by agencies and approved by the Executive Branch. They add detail to statutory law. Alaska's Statutes set down general authority, intention and purpose and are passed by the state Legislature. See regulations and statutes specific to DEC's Spill Prevention and Response Division.


Alaska Clean Seas (ACS): ACS is one of five major oil spill response cooperatives within the State of Alaska who's only purpose is to prepare for and promptly respond to and cleanup any spills their member organizations may have. ACS primarily responds to spills on or around Alaska's North Slope.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC or DEC): The state agency responsible for protecting public health and environment within the state. The Division of Spill Prevention and Response (SPAR) is charged with protecting public health and environment from sites contaminated by oil or other hazardous substances.

bullet DEC homepage.


Alaska Hazards Ranking Model for the Contaminated Sites Database (AHRM): August 31, 1991, as amended May 2, 1993. An exposure model which gives a site a relative priority score so that priority can be given to those site that present the greatest threat to human health and the environment. The Exposure Tracking Model (ETM) is a revision to the Alaska Hazard Ranking Model (AHRM). The AHRM was intended to be a one time ranking model, and reprioritization was difficult with this model. The ETM was developed to track progress at sites over time so that the prioritization can be updated as assessment and cleanup work is completed.


Alaska Regional Response Team (ARRT): An oil spill response policy making organization for the Alaska area, made up of all the Federal resource agencies that could or would be involved in a spill response and the lead oil spill response department of the state of Alaska (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)). The group considers issues only for the Alaska area and is co-chaired by DEC and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 ARRT website.


Alternative Cleanup Levels (ACL): See the page on the contaminated sites cleanup process, Step 5, for a dicussion of alternative cleanup levels.


Applicable, relevant, or appropriate requirements (ARARS): [Federal] State and federal laws and regulations that need to be met or considered in development and implementation of cleanup alternatives at a site. These include cleanup standards, standards of control, and other substantive environmental protection requirements, factors, or limitations under state and federal law.


Aquifer: An underground geologic formation composed of materials such as rock, sand, soil or gravel that can store and supply ground water to wells and springs. Aquifers in Alaska can be as little as a few feet below ground surface to more than 200 feet below ground surface. A ground water supply is usually considered an aquifer if it contains enough water to supply the water needs for a community. An unconfined aquifer is open to receive water from the surface, and whose water table surface is free to fluctuate up and down, depending on the recharge/discharge rate.  There are no overlying "confining beds" of low permeability to physically isolate the groundwater system.


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): A Federal Wildlife Refuge adjacent to Alaska's North Slope, where drilling for oil or other resources is presently prohibited, but where substantial oil reserves are believed to be.


Assessment, site assessment : See Environmental Site Assessment


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B

Base Closure and Realignment Act (BRAC): The federal law that provides the authority, the process, and schedule for closing an operating Department of Defense (DOD) facility.

 DOD's BRAC website.


Background concentrations: The level of a chemical that is consistently present in the environment or the vicinity of the site and that is naturally present or is the result of human activities unrelated to discharges or releases from the site.


Benzene: A cancer-causing chemical associated with fuels, such as gasoline. Benzene evaporates quickly and dissolves easily in water.

Fact sheet on benzene, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene (BTEX): Organic chemicals found in fuels that evaporate quickly and can cause cancer.

Fact sheet on Benzene, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Fact sheet on Toluene, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Fact sheet on Ethylbenzene, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Fact sheet on Xylene, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Bioaccumulate: Substances that when taken into the body through contaminated food, water or air slowly accumulate in body tissues or fat because the substances are slow to breakdown or excreted.


Bioremediation: A technique that uses bacteria or other organisms to clean up contamination. Bacteria generally break down the contamination into less harmful components, such as carbon dioxide and water. Bioremediation can be used to clean up soil or water. Water and nutrients, such as fertilizer and oxygen, may be added to the contaminated soils to speed up the breakdown process. Some chemicals, such as gasoline, are easily bioremediated while other, such as pesticides, can not be effectively treated using bioremediation. The contamination can be treated in place (in situ) or the material can be excavated and treated above ground in a different location (ex situ). Types of soil bioremediation methods include landfarming, composting, land spreading, biotreatment, and biopiles. Types of water bioremediation include natural attenuation, and engineered wetlands.

[State] A remediation method that decreases the concentration of a hazardous substance in soil through biological action.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196 K)


Bioventing: A technique to treat soil contaminated with petroleum products or organic chemicals. Air is forced into the soil through specially designed wells. The oxygen enhances growth of naturally occurring bacteria in soils. The bacteria feed on the contaminants in the soils, chemically breaking down the contaminants into non-hazardous components. The air can be heated to enhance bacteria growth.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196 K)


Brownfield site: [federal] Property with contamination which complicates its redevelopment, reuse or expansion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Initiative is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic development to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields.

bullet DEC's Brownfield webpage.

More information on what qualifies as a 'brownfield' is available at: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/glossary.htm#brow.


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C

Capillary Action: The rise of water along narrow passages, facilitated and caused by surface tension.


Capping: Placement of a barrier over the contamination to prevent infiltration of water into the material below the cap. Caps are made of different materials including a geo-textile (fabric) cover, soil, clay, sand, gravel, asphalt, or vegetation top layer. Caps are designed specifically for each area and can range from several inches to several feet thick.


Carbon Adsorption/Carbon filtration: A treatment system for contaminated water or air, where the contaminated media is forced through tanks containing activated carbon. Activated carbon attracts, or adsorbs, the contaminants. This treatment is usually combined with other forms of treatment such as air stripping or oil/water separator. Spent carbon must be treated or properly disposed of.


Carcinogen: A substance that causes or induces cancer.


Cleanup: Efforts to mitigate environmental damages or threat to human health, safety, or welfare from hazardous substances or oil.. It may include removal of hazardous substance from the environment, including restoration, remediation, and other measures that are necessary to mitigate or avoid further threat to public health, safety and welfare, or the environment. Cleanup is often used interchangeably with terms like corrective actions, remedial action, removal action, or response action. It is often used broadly to describe various actions or phases of an action, such as the remedial investigation/feasibility study in the Superfund process.

 "How DEC makes cleanup decisions" fact sheet (PDF 81K)

bullet Cleanup Process
bullet Frequently Asked Questions
bullet Download the Cleanup Process fact sheet (PDF 304K)
bullet Download the Program flowchart (PDF 87K)


Cleanup complete: See Closure of a contaminated site.


Closure of a contaminated site: As of September 2nd, 2008, DEC’s Contaminated Sites program has changed the terms used to describe site closure, replacing “closed” and “conditionally closed” with “Cleanup Complete” and “Cleanup Complete – Institutional Controls.” The dividing line between these categories is the need for periodic reporting about conditions or restrictions placed on closure -- reporting considered necessary when the possibility of future exposure to residual contamination may pose a risk to human health and the environment.

DEC will give “Cleanup Complete” status when efforts to reduce hazardous substance contamination have achieved the most stringent levels established in state regulation, or the possibility of human exposure to any residual contamination is highly unlikely.


Achieving the strictest levels is often not possible, practicable, or cost-effective. Examples include when contamination is: beneath structures or rock, too deep for excavation equipment, or distributed in varying amounts throughout the site. The costs to gain this level of cleanup may be exceedingly high. Some contamination may be left to degrade "naturally" (natural attenuation.) The Department may allow hazardous substances to remain in the environment at a site if the contamination does not pose a risk to human health or the environment, but there may be conditions or restrictions associated with the site that require compliance by current or future owners/operators. Those conditions or restrictions require follow-up reporting; the department would then grant a "Cleanup Complete – Institutional Controls." (See "Institutional Controls.")


Details on closure of any site are viewable on the Contaminated Sites database. A special report on Institutional Controls is available for sites with that designation.


Commander, Coast Guard District Seventeen (CCGD17): The US Coast Guard divides its operations into "Districts". District 17 covers all of the State of Alaska, and only the State of Alaska. District 17 is "commanded" by a Rear Admiral who has his headquarters in the Federal Building in Juneau, Alaska. He is in charge of all Coast Guard operations within District 17 (the State of Alaska).

 Coast Guard District 17 website


Compliance Order By Consent (COBC): An enforceable agreement to resolve violations of environmental or health laws. The COBC is usually faster than the Compliance Order or any of the judicial enforcement tools to obtain. The COBC is often utilized when the violator agrees to perform certain task in order to operate while coming into compliance or conducting remediation and cleanup. The terms and conditions of a COBC are simply negotiated between the DEC and the violator with the assistance of an Assistant Attorney General.


Compliance Orders (CO): A unilateral, non-judicial enforcement tool which establishes a step or series of steps that the violator must undertake in order to abate a violation. Executed as a Department Order, the department then refrains from judicial action unless additional violations occur or the terms of the compliance order are ignored by the responsible party. Compliance orders are very similar to the COBC, except that they are not consensual.


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA): Commonly known as the Superfund law, CERCLA is a federal law passed in 1980 and modified in 1986 by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). The Acts created a special tax that goes into a Trust fund, commonly know as the Superfund, to investigate and clean up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for implementing these laws. Under the program, EPA can either:

a. Pay for the site cleanup when parties responsible for the contamination cannot be located or are unwilling or unable to perform the work; and/or
b. Take legal action to force parties responsible for site contamination to clean up the site or pay back the Federal government for the cost of the cleanup.

 See also our fact sheet "Environmental Laws and Regulations" (PDF 95K)
 EPA's CERCLA webpage.


Conceptual Site Model (CSM): A summary of conditions at a site that identifies the type and location of all potential sources of contamination and how and where people, plants or animals may be exposed to the contamination.

"Human Health Risk Assessment" fact sheet (PDF 111 K)


Conditional Closure of a contaminated site: As of September 2nd, 2008 DEC’s Contaminated Sites program has changed the terms used to describe site closure, replacing “closed” and “conditionally closed” with “Cleanup Complete” and “Cleanup Complete – Institutional Controls” (See Closure of a contaminated site). (Also see "Institutional Controls.")


Contaminated Site (CS): [State] A contaminated site is a location where hazardous substances, including petroleum products, have been improperly disposed. Many of these sites resulted from 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.

"Common Contaminants in Alaska" fact sheet (PDF 140K)
"The Exposure Tracking Model "(PDF 101K)
 DEC's Contaminated Sites Program


Cook Inlet Regional Citizen's Advisory Council (CIRCAC): Established by congress in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, CIRCAC's mission is to foster long-term partnerships between industry, government and the coastal communities of Alaska.


Cook Inlet Spill Response, Inc. (CISPRI): CISPRI is one of five major oil spill response cooperatives within the State of Alaska who's only purpose is to prepare for and promptly respond to and cleanup any spills their member organizations may have. CISPRI's primarily response area is Cook Inlet, Alaska.


Corrective Action Final Report (CAFR): [State] The report submitted to DEC upon the conclusion of the Corrective Action detailing all of the activities of the Site Assessment and Corrective Action under the Streamlined Cleanup Program.


Corrective Action Plan: [State] The procedures proposed by the responsible party, owner, operator, or their consultant to investigate, assess, correct, contain, and clean up a regulated substance release under the Voluntary Cleanup Program.


Crude Oil: Unrefined liquid petroleum, ranging in gravity from 9° API to 55° API and in color from yellow to black. May have a paraffin, asphalt, or mixed base. If the oil contains a sizable amount of sulfur or sulfur components, it is called a sour crude; if it has little or no sulfur, it is called a sweet crude. In addition, crude oil may be referred to as heavy or light, according to API gravity, the lighter oil having the higher gravities.


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D

Defense Environmental Restoration Act (DERP): In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. This law requires all responsible parties to clean up releases of hazardous substances to the environment. The 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) refined and expanded CERCLA, and formally established the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) and its funding mechanism, the Defense Environmental Restoration Account. The DERP has been codified in Section 2701 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

 Department of Defense DERP Overview


Dense Non-aqueous Phase liquid (DNAPL): A contaminant that is insoluble or has low solubility, is heavier than water and sinks to the bottom of an aquifer and potentially through the underlying materials. Examples are solvents such as PERC, and TCE; which are common dry cleaning chemicals.


Department of Defense (DOD): The U.S. Department of Defense is responsible for the military forces of the United States.

 DEC and the Department of Defense
 Department of Defense website
 Department of Defense Environmental Cleanup website


Diesel Fuel: A fuel composed of distillates obtained in petroleum refining operation or blends of such distillates with residual oil used in motor vehicles. It is a light hydrocarbon mixture similar to furnace fuel oil and has a boiling range and specific gravity higher than gasoline, just above that of kerosene.


Diesel Range Organics (DRO): Diesel fuels and its by-products; the acronym is commonly used to refer to these chemicals.


Dioxin: Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. The most toxic compound is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD. The toxicity of other dioxins and chemicals like PCBs that act like dioxin are measured in relation to TCDD. Dioxin is formed as an unintentional by-product of many industrial processes involving chlorine such as waste incineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange.

Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from waste-burning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides).

Fact sheet on Dioxins, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's web page on dioxins.


DEW Line, Distant Early Warning sites: During the Cold War (late 1940s to the late 1980s) a network of radar and communications facilities was constructed around Alaska . Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line stations were built as the primary line of air defense warning in case of an "over the Pole" invasion of the North American continent. 58 sites were constructed between 1955 and 1957. (See also White Alice Communication System.)


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E

Emergency Planning and Community-Right-To-Know-Act (EPCRA): Established by the Super fund Amendment and Re-Authorization Act (Sara Title III) to help local communities to protect the public health, safety and the environment from hazardous chemicals.

 EPA's EPCRA website.


Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA): [Federal] An EE/CA is an analysis of removal alternatives for a site, similar to a feasibility study. Upon completion, the EE/CA must be made available for a 30-day public comment period. Upon a timely request, the comment period will be extended by a minimum of 15 days.


Environmental Site Assessment (ESA): An investigation of a property, often funded by a potential buyer or seller of the property, that looks to see whether or not the property may be contaminated with hazardous substances. ASTM International is an organization that sets standards for many industries and has standards for an ESA, phases I and II. These standards are commonly accepted among businesses that clean up contaminated sites.

Phase I and Phase II ESAs are not mentioned in or required by state regulation: the two phases generally occur within the first part of the cleanup process, which may be called “site characterization,” “assessment” or “investigation.” These documents are also helpful in understanding the cleanup process:
 Cleanup process for contaminated sites (PDF 304K)
 Program flowchart (PDF 87K)

Phase I: is a systematic evaluation of a property, often funded by a potential buyer or seller of the property, to determine whether hazardous substances or petroleum products have been disposed or released there. The Phase I generally consists of a review of public records, interviews with current and previous owners, and a site visit to determine if there are obvious potential environmental problems at or near the site. It usually does not include sampling. The ASTM Phase I ESA Standard (E1527-05), intended for commercial real estate, aims to enable the user to satisfy one of the requirements (“all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of a property") to qualify for the innocent purchaser defense to liability under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).


Phase II: A Phase II ESA (ASTM Standard E1903-97[2002]) is a further assessment of a property that has previously been determined to have a recognized environmental condition through a Phase I ESA or other property screening process. It generally includes the collection and analysis of air, soil, groundwater, surface water, or sediment samples from the site to determine the presence or absence of contamination. The Phase II is also designed to provide enough information about the nature and extent of contamination so that reasoned and informed business decisions can be made about the property. The Phase II standard intends to further satisfy the “appropriate inquiry” element of CERCLA’s innocent purchaser defense, where a previous assessment satisfying that element identified recognized environmental conditions.


Equitable Servitude and Easement (ESE): A legal agreement that transfers a right or interest in real property from the property owner to another person or entity. If a final cleanup remedy results in contamination being left behind on a property to degrade naturally, DEC may require the property owner to record an ESE that transfers a property "right" (such as the right to install a drinking water well, or the right to dig on a certain part of the property) to the State of Alaska, thus preventing the property owner and all future owners from taking action that may cause them to come into contact with the residual contamination until it is broken down. An ESE allows the State of Alaska to manage the terms and conditions of whatever institutional controls are deemed appropriate. See institutional controls.

The ESE is closely coupled with a "Management Rights Agreement" which assigns the responsibilities of the state's land agency, the Alaska Department of Natural Resource's to DEC, the pollution control agency, authorizing DEC to track and follow-up on the stipulations of the ESE.


Ethylene Dibromide (EDB): one of several "lead scavengers: "lead scavengers," which were added to leaded gasoline to prevent buildup of lead deposits in engines until they were phased out of use in the 1980s. Lead scavengers are slow to break down, persisting in the environment fpr a long time.


Exploration Facility: means a platform, vessel, or other facility used to explore for hydrocarbons in or on the waters of the state or in or on land in the state; the term does not include platforms or vessels used for stratigraphic drilling or other operations that are not authorized or intended to drill to a producing formation.


Exposure Tracking Model (ETM):  The ETM is an intra-agency web-based application developed by DEC’s Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) as an internal tool to evaluate and track risk reduction at contaminated sites and to prioritize staff workload.  The CSP implemented the ETM in the spring of 2007 as a replacement for the Alaska Hazard Ranking Model (AHRM), used previously to conduct a preliminary evaluation, rank, and prioritize contaminated sites.  The AHRM was intended to be a one-time ranking model, making reprioritization difficult.  The ETM evaluates potential exposure of receptors to contaminants through an analysis of exposure pathways.  The CSP uses the ETM to identify priority exposure pathways and track the ongoing decision making process used to evaluate and prioritize contaminated sites.  Progress at sites can be tracked over time so that the prioritization can be updated as assessment and cleanup work are completed.


Ex-situ Treatment: Used to describe treatment conducted on materials that have been moved from their original location.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196K)


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F

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): the arm of the federal government responsible for flight safety, flight standards and pilot certification.


Federal Coordination Officer (FCO): Or Federal Coordinating Officer. Appointed by the President when there is a catastrophic disaster that overwhelms local and state agencies. The FCO coordinates the overall federal response activities. Often is a FEMA employee.


Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC): Either an EPA employee or U.S. Coast Guard Officer representing the federal governments interest during responses to oil and hazardous materials pollution incidents.


Fiscal Year (FY): That year designated as the reporting year for tax and budgeting purposes. It may or may not coincide with the calendar year.


Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): An agency within the Department of the Interior that manages fish, game and other natural resources at the federal level.

bullet US FWS website.


Feasibility Study (FS): [Federal] A study undertaken by the lead agency to develop and evaluate options for remedial action using data from the Remedial Investigation.


Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS): Property that has been surplused by the Department of Defense and has been legally transferred to private or other governmental agencies. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts cleanups at these sites.

bullet FUDS sites in Alaska.
bullet U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FUDS website.


Free product/ free phase: A petroleum product in the liquid phase. Free phase contamination implies an advanced stage of petroleum fuel hydrocarbon contamination. Product recovery wells and remediation wells are usually placed in areas of maximum free and residual phase contamination to remove as much liquid product as possible from the environment.


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G


Gasoline: A volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbon refined from crude oils and used universally as a fuel for internal-combustion, spark ignition engines.

Fact webpage on Gasoline, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Gasoline Range Organics (GRO): Gasoline fuels and its by-products; the acronym is commonly used to cover these types of chemicals. Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene (BTEX) are examples of GRO.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS): GIS is a computer technology that manages, analyzes, and disseminates geographic knowledge.

 For more information, please visit GIS.com


Groundwater: Water found beneath the earth’s surface that fills pores between sand, soil particles, or gravel creating a saturated zone. In aquifers, groundwater is in sufficient quantities that it can be used for drinking water, irrigation, or other purposes.

 "Introduction to Groundwater" fact sheet (PDF 307K)


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H

Hazard Index: The sum of the hazard quotients attributed to non-carcinogenic hazardous substances with similar critical endpoints.


Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT): HAZMAT are chemicals, combustible liquids, compressed gases, controlled substances, corrosives, explosives, flammable materials, oxidizers, poisons, radioactive materials, and toxic materials.


Hazard Ranking System: [Federal] The principal screening tool used by EPA to evaluate risks to public health and the environment associated with abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The HRS calculates a score based on the potential of hazardous substances spreading from the site through the air, surface water, or groundwater, and on other factors such as density and proximity of human population. This score is the primary factor in deciding if the site should be on the National Priorities List and, if so, what ranking it should have compared to other sites on the list.

 EPA's Hazard Ranking System webpage.


Hazardous Substance: means (A) an element or compound that, when it enters into or on the surface or subsurface land or water of the state, presents an imminent and substantial danger to the public health or welfare, or to fish, animals, vegetation, or any part of the natural habitat in which fish, animals, or wildlife may be found; or (B) a substance defined as a hazardous substance under 42 U.S.C. 9601-9657 (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980); “hazardous substance” does not include uncontaminated crude oil or uncontaminated noncrude (refined) oil in an amount of 10 gallons or less.


Human Factors (Cause): Spills caused by human factors may be categorized as follows: bilge discharge; cargo not secured; human error; intentional release; overfill; sabotage/vandalism; and sinking.


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I

Incident Action Plan (IAP): An IAP is a document that is comprised of incident objectives, organization list and charts, assignment list, communication plan, medical plan, incident map, safety plan, decontamination plan and waste management or disposal plan. Optional components to the IAP are air operations summary, traffic plan, demobilization plan.


Incineration/Thermal treatment: This treatment technique uses heat to remove contamination from solid, liquid, or gaseous materials. Hazardous organic compounds are converted to ash, carbon dioxide, and water. Temperatures will vary depending on the type of contamination and the contaminated material.


In-situ Treatment: In-situ means “in place”. Used to describe any treatment technique that treats the contaminated water or soil in place.

 See the fact sheet "Environmental Cleanup Methods" (PDF 196 K)


Institutional Controls (IC): DEC may establish conditions on a site to protect people and the environment from exposure to oil and hazardous substances during the cleanup process. Conditions may also be set when contaminants remain after cleanup is completed to the extent practical or possible. Each of these conditions is called an Institutional control (IC).  IC types and requirements are based on the potential for exposure, the concentration of contaminant(s), and the volume of impacted soil, groundwater or other media.  The type(s) of controls correspond with the risk of exposure -- more severe conditions are required for higher risk sites.  High risk site IC types include equitable servitudes, conservation easements, and compliance orders. Lower risk sites may have public informational IC types, including deed notices, DEC online database notations, and letters to the landowner.  Most ICs will have use restrictions and possible monitoring requirements, and these may include soil or groundwater monitoring, groundwater use restrictions, air quality monitoring, maintenance of engineering controls like fencing or asphalt caps, and soil and groundwater removal restrictions. Decisions about the need for ICs are specific to the conditions at each site.


Details on closure of any site are viewable on the Contaminated Sites database. A special report on Institutional Controls is available for sites with that designation. Also see "closure of a contaminated site."


Installation Restoration Program (IRP): A federal program designed to clean up contamination associated with Department of Defense (DOD) facilities. It includes identification, investigation, and cleanup of hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants as defined by the federal cleanup law CERCLA ; DoD-unique materials; and petroleum/oil/lubricants contamination at operating and closing/realigning installations (including off-installation areas to which contamination has migrated) and at Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS).


Interim Remedial Action (IRA): An interim measure to remove or isolate contamination. This action can be taken any time during the process and is usually taken to protect people and the environment from high levels of contamination until the final remedial action can be taken.  "Cleanup process" fact sheet. (PDF 311K)
 Cleanup Process web page



Intrinsic Remediation: See natural attenuation.


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J

Joint Pipeline Office (JPO): An office composed of both Federal and State agency representatives who's only purpose is to monitor or oversee the day to day operations and issues dealing with the TransAlaska Pipeline.

 Alaska JPO website.


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L


Leachate: A liquid resulting when water percolates, or trickles, through waste materials and becomes contaminated. Leachate may occur at landfills or at contaminated sites resulting in hazardous substances being transported to clean soil, surface water, or groundwater.


Lead scavengers: chemical compounds added to leaded gasoline to prevent build-up of lead deposits in engines. Leaded gasoline, along with these scavengers, were phased out of use in the 1980s. These compounds are slow to break down, persisting in the environment for a long time.

 

Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST): The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has specific regulations that govern the identification, assessment, cleanup and closure of leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites.


Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL): LNAPLs are undissolved chemicals, typically petroleum products, which float on the surface of ground, water rather than mix with it. A good analogy would be oil and vinegar salad dressing.


Liner: A structure of natural clay or manufactured material, which serves as an impermeable barrier between the clean soils and the contaminated material stored in the liner.


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M

Marine Safety Detachment (MSD): MSD is a sub-unit of a U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (typically found in a larger city). The MSD manages marine safety activities that include marine inspections, port operations, investigations, pollution response, merchant mariner licensing and documentation, and various other administrative functions.


Marine Safety Office (MSO): District 17 of the US Coast Guard has three Marine Safety Offices and a number of smaller satellite offices called Marine Safety Detachments, located at key ports such as Ketchikan, Sitka, and Kenai, around the state.  The District 17 Marine Safety Office's are responsible for, among other things: Port Security, Vessel Inspection, maritime Operators Certification, and Pollution Response.  The three Marine Safety Offices are located in Juneau, Valdez, and Anchorage.


Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The maximum level of certain contaminants permitted in public drinking water supplies. EPA, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, sets these levels.


Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): A memorandum of agreement is a contractual arrangement between two entities which stipulates the terms and conditions under which specific work is performed; these terms and conditions include scope of work, period of performance, payments, patents,publications,advertising, use of experimental compounds or drugs, human subjects, indemnification, and reports.


Military munitions: see Ordnance.


Monitoring Wells: Wells drilled at specific locations where groundwater parameters (depth, flow direction, chemical nature, etc.) can be sampled to determine the types and amounts of contaminants present.


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N

National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP): [Federal] The federal regulation that guides the Superfund program. The NCP was revised in Feb. 1990.

 EPA National Contingency Plan webpage.


National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): [Federal] The primary permitting program under the Clean Water Act, which regulates all discharges to surface water.


National Pollution Fund Center (NPFC): An independent Headquarters unit commissioned by the Coast Guard that reports directly to the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard that administers the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSTLF or the "the Fund") to cover certain removal cost and damages in an oil spill.

 EPA Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund webpage.
 USCG National Pollution Fund Center website.


National Priorities List (NPL): [Federal] A list maintained by EPA of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for possible long-term cleanup using money from the Superfund trust fund. EPA is required to update the NPL at least once a year.

 EPA National Priorities List webpage.
 EPA National Priorities List map of sites .


Natural attenuation, or intrinsic remediation: The natural breakdown of hazardous substances in the environment. Many hazardous substances will slowly degrade or break down into non-hazardous substances through natural processes in the environment. Natural attenuation may be approved as a remedy for contamination, particularly if other efforts have been exhausted without achieving the applicable cleanup levels, and as long as there is little chance that the contamination will pose a threat to people, plants or animals. Regular monitoring of soil and groundwater may be required to ensure that natural attenuation is occurring. (See also Closure of a contaminated site.)


No Further Remedial Action Planned (NFRAP):The site status No Further Remedial Action Planned was once used to note closure when residual contamination remained after cleanup at a site. Any site once given this status has been changed to “Cleanup complete” or “Cleanup complete – Institutional controls.” (See Closure of a contaminated site.)


Non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL): Contaminants that remain undiluted as the original bulk liquid in the subsurface and do not readily dissolve in water, e.g. spilled oil.


Non-tank Vessel: means a self-propelled watercraft of more than 400 gross registered tons; in this paragraph, “watercraft” includes commercial fishing vessels, commercial fish processor vessels, passenger vessels, and cargo vessels, but does not include a tank vessel, oil barge or public vessel.


Non-Time-Critical Removals: [Federal] Those releases or threats of releases not requiring initiation of on-site activity within 6 months after the agency’s determination, based on the site evaluation, that a removal action is appropriate.


Notice of Intent (NOI): [State] Under the Streamlined Cleanup Program, the form submitted to DEC by an applicant for acceptance into the program. The NOI describes the history and current situation of the site, and enables DEC to make a determination on whether the site meets the criteria for inclusion in the Streamlined Cleanup Program.


Notice of Violation (NOV): A NOV is a written "ticket" informing a business or individual that they have failed to comply with a State regulation or statute. A Notice of Violation (NOV), is not an order but rather a notice to a person that a violation of the statutes, regulations, or permit condition occurred. The majority of enforcement work in DEC is started with the NOV. The NOV is issued when it is believed that formal notification is necessary to generate appropriate remedial response by the violator or to document a violation.


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O

Octane: A flammable liquid hydrocarbon found in petroleum. Used as a standard to measure the anti-knock properties of motor fuel.


OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.


Offshore: That geographic area that lies seaward of the coastline. In general, the coastline is the line of ordinary low water along with that portion of the coast that is in direct contact with the open sea or the line marking the seaward limit of inland water.


Oil: means petroleum products of any kind and in any form, whether crude, noncrude (refined), or a petroleum by-product, including petroleum, fuel oil, gasoline, lubricating oils, oily sludge, oily refuse, oil mixed with other wastes, liquefied natural gas, propane, butane, and other liquid hydrocarbons regardless of specific gravity.

"Common Contaminants in Alaska" fact sheet (PDF 140K)


Oil & Hazardous Substance Release Prevention and Response Fund (OHSRPRF): The fund created by the legislature in 1986 to provide a readily available funding source to investigate, contain, clean up and take other necessary action to protect public health and welfare and the environment from the releases or threatened release of oil or a hazardous substance.

bullet Response Fund Administration Program - History of the Fund webpage


Oil Barge: means a vessel which is not self-propelled and which is constructed or converted to carry oil as cargo in bulk.


Oil Terminal Facility: means an onshore or offshore facility of any kind, and related appurtenances, including but not limited to a deepwater port, bulk storage facility, or marina, located in, on, or under the surface of the land or waters of the state, including tide and submerged land, that is used for the purpose of transferring, processing, refining or storing oil; a vessel, other than a nontank vessel, is considered an oil terminal facility only when it is used to make a ship-to-ship transfer of oil; and when it is traveling between the place of the ship-to-ship transfer of oil and an oil terminal facility.


On-Scene Coordinator: The federal or state official who coordinates and directs removal actions and all other site activities associated with an incident involving an emergency response.


Operable Unit (OU): At a complex contaminated site, the site may be divided up into areas, which are grouped together for ease of investigation and cleanup. These groups are frequently called operable units.


Ordnance, or military munitions: All types of conventional and chemical ammunition products and their components including, but not limited to, bullets, primers, fuses, propellants, projectiles, grenades, mortars, mines, bombs, rockets, and missiles.


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P

Parts per billion (ppb): Unit commonly used to express concentrations of contamination and ppb is 1/1,000,000,000. An example is 0.005 ppm equals 5 ppb.

"Contaminant Concentrations" fact sheet (PDF 101K)


Parts per million (ppm): Unit commonly used to express concentrations of contamination and ppm is 1/1,000,000.

"Contaminant Concentrations" fact sheet (PDF 101K)


Perchloroethylene (PCE): Perchloroethylene is a man-made chemical used for dry-cleaning clothes, degreasing metal parts, and as an ingredient in the manufacturing of other chemicals. Perchloroethylene was once used as a general anesthetic, but that use has been discontinued. Perchloroethylene is also known as PCE, tetrachloroethylene, tetrachloroethene, Perc, Percelene, and Perchlor. PCE is often confused with trichloroethylene (TCE), a different chemical with similar uses.

EPA Fact sheet on PCE
Fact webpage on PERC, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Permafrost: Soil or other earth material with a temperature that remains below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for two or more years.


Petroleum: A broadly defined class of liquid hydrocarbon mixtures, largely of the methane series. Included are crude oil, lease condensate, unfinished oils, natural gas plant liquids, and refined products including kerosene, benzene, gasoline, diesel, paraffin, etc..., obtained from the processing of crude oil. Note: Volumes of finished petroleum products include nonhydrocarbon compounds, such as additives and detergents, after they have been blended into the products.


Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL): A common acronym used to describe the contents of tanks and associated piping that contains these materials. It also refers to a Dept. of Defense program to clean up petroleum spills or leaks.

"Common Contaminants in Alaska" fact sheet (PDF 140K)


Phase I and II of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA): Two parts of an investigation of a property, often funded by a potential buyer or seller of the property, that looks to see whether or not the property may be contaminated with hazardous substances.  See environmental site assessment.


Pilot Test: A small-scale version of a larger system that is being tested to anticipate the performance of the larger system. Pilot test results are typically used to design and optimize the larger system.


Pipeline: means the facilities, including piping, compressors, pump stations, and storage tanks, used to transport crude oil and associated hydrocarbons between production facilities or from one or more production facilities to marine vessels.


Plume: A visible or measurable discharge or release of a contaminant as it moves water or air from a given point of origin. The plume of a contaminant in groundwater is the area of water which, as it moves underground, carries the contaminant with it. The shape is often like that of a skinny balloon. The portions of the plume close to the source will have higher concentrations than the portions further away from the source. Natural physical, chemical, and biological processess diminish the concentration levels as the water carries the contaminant away from the source.


Pollution Report (POLREP): A brief report written by the USCG of the circumstances, situation, and  actions taken in response to a pollution incident.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): A group of compounds composed of two or more fused aromatic rings. PAH’s are introduced into the environment through the combustion process (i.e. forest fire, automobile exhaust, and fossil fuel power plants).

Fact sheet on PAHs , ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): A group of toxic, persistent chemicals formerly used in electrical transformers and capacitors for insulating purposes and in gas pipeline systems as a lubricant. They are classified as a possible carcinogen. The sale and new use of PCBs were banned in 1979. Prior to that time, PCBs were commonly found in oils used in electrical equipment and hydraulic fluids. The compounds were also used in heat transfer liquids, hydraulic fluids, plasticizers, and caulking materials. PCBs strongly attach to plants, soils and sediments. PCBs found in soil can very slowly migrate to groundwater or surface water. "Common Contaminants in Alaska" fact sheet (PDF 140K)
Fact sheet on PCBs , ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Potentially Responsible Party (PRP): [Federal] An individual or company (such as owners, operators, transporters, or generators of hazardous waste) potentially responsible for, or contributing to, the contamination problems at a Superfund site. Whenever possible, EPA requires PRPs, through administrative and legal actions, to clean up hazardous waste sites they have contaminated.


Preliminary Assessment (PA): [Federal] Initial step of a site assessment under Superfund which involves record review; designed to distinguish between sites that pose little or no threat to human health and the environment and sites that require further investigation.


Prince William Sound Regional Citizen's Advisory Council (PWSRCAC): Established after the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in 1989, this non-profit organization serves under contract with Alyeska Pipeline Service Comany. The council's role was further established by Congress in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. PWSRCAC's mission is promote the environmentally safe operation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline's Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers.


Process Water (Oil Exploration and Production Operations): Process water includes seawater (and occasionally freshwater) and produced water. Seawater is injected into a formation to pressurize the reservoir and force the oil toward the oil production wells. Gelled water is seawater and freshwater that is mixed with a gelling substance to increase the viscosity of the fluid for a number of purposes. Seawater is also used to maintain the existing wells or to detect leaks in pipelines. Produced water is the water mixture consisting of oil, gas, and sand that is pumped from oil production wells. The percentage of crude oil occurring in process water can vary somewhat based on the source of the spill.


Process Water (Mining Operations): Process water for mining operations include water taken from tailing ponds for the milling process (reclaim water), water that has been through the water treatment plant but not the sand filter (process water), water that has been through both the water treatment and sand filter (discharge water), water mixed with ground ore materials (slurry) or water used in the milling and product recovery process (process solution water).


Production Facility: means a drilling rig, drill site, flow station, gathering center, pump station, storage tank, well, and related appurtenances on other facilities to produce, gather, clean, dehydrate, condition, or store crude oil and associated hydrocarbons in or on the water of the state or on land in the state; and gathering and flow lines used to transport crude oil and associated hydrocarbons to the inlet of a pipeline system for delivery to a marine facility, refinery, or other production facility.


Proposed Plan: [Federal] This document summarizes for the public the preferred cleanup strategy, rationale for the preference, alternatives presented in the detailed analysis of the remedial investigation/feasibility study. It must actively solicit public review and comment on all the alternatives under consideration.


Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPA): are legally-binding agreements between DEC and prospective purchasers of contaminated property. The purpose of a PPA is to facilitate cleanup and productive reuse of contaminated property. Often, existing contamination is an obstacle to property use and/or transfer. These PPAs provide certainty to purchasers as to the extent of their liability for existing contamination and facilitate the cleanup and reuse of contaminated property.


Public Comment Period: A time period for the public to review and submit comment on various documents and actions. [Federal] A comment period can not be less than 30 days and upon timely request to the lead agency, the comment period will be extended by a minimum of 30 additional days.


Public Vessel: means a vessel that is operated by and is either owned or bareboat chartered by the United States, a state or a political subdivision of that state, or a foreign nation, except when the vessel is engaged in commerce.


Pump and Treat: A groundwater treatment technique that includes removal of the groundwater by pumping it to the surface and treating in it by various methods, such as by air stripping or carbon absorption. Extraction wells are drilled into the contaminated groundwater plume to collect the water, bringing it to the surface for treatment. A non-domestic wastewater discharge permit may be required for operation of the treatment system.


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Q

Qualified Person (QP): 18 AAC 75 and 18 AAC 78 of state regulation both require "qualified person" status for those who have direct responsibility in investigation and cleanup at a contaminated site, including leaks from a regulated underground storage tank. A qualified person is defined in 18 AAC 78.995 (118) and 18 AAC 75. 990 (100): "qualified person" or "qualified third party" means a person who actively practices environmental science or engineering, geology, physical science, hydrology, or a related field and has the following minimum education and experience:


(A) a bachelor's degree or equivalent from a nationally or internationally accredited post­secondary institution in environmental science or engineering, geology, hydrology, physical science, or a related field; for purposes of this subparagraph, "equivalent" means that the person earned at least 128 semester hours, 168 trimester hours, or 192 quarter hours at an accredited postsecondary institution, and with at least 18 percent of those hours in a science major and at least 13 percent of those hours in upper division-level courses; and

(B) at least one year of professional experience in environmental science or engineering, geology, physical science, or a related field, completed after the degree described in (A) of this paragraph was obtained.

More information on Qualified Persons

Qualified people have direct responsibility to prepare reports or make an interpretation regarding field data, can exercise onsite control over all work that requires assessment, investigation, characterization, reporting, or interpretation at contaminated and underground storage tank sites, including:

  1. selection of the location or depth of sample points in soil, groundwater, surface water, or stockpiles; location, placement, or supervision of construction or completion of monitoring or corrective action wells; description of site characteristics, soil characteristics, or geological characteristics in field notes that will be used by the assessment firm in the report submitted to the owner or operator of the project; duties required to be performed under the UST Procedures Manual other than those strictly limited to the physical act of sample collection and transport; and
  2. collection of final verification samples.
They can also exercise onsite or offsite control over routine tasks associated with the physical act of sample collection and transportation.


Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC): A system of procedures, checks, audits, and corrective actions used to ensure that field work and laboratory analysis during the investigation and cleanup meets established sampling and analytical standards.

Quality assurance is the systematic process of checking to see whether a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements.
Quality control
involves the tools used to monitor or regulate the process. Quality control is an aspect of quality assurance.


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R

Record of Decision (ROD): [Federal] A document that explains which cleanup alternative(s) will be used at a site or is used to justify no further action. The ROD is based on information and technical analysis generated during the remedial investigation/feasibility study and consideration of public comments and community concerns.


Remedial Action (RA): [Federal] The actual construction or implementation of the selected cleanup plan.


Remedial Design (RD): [Federal] The phase of the project where engineering plans technical drawings and specifications are developed for the selected cleanup plan.


Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS): [Federal] Two different, but related studies. Remedial Investigation gathers the data necessary to determine the type and extent of contamination at a site. The Feasibility Study establishes the criteria for cleaning up a site and identifies and screens possible cleanup alternatives. The Feasibility Study also analyzes the technologies and costs of the alternatives.


Removal Action: [Federal] An emergency or short-term action to respond to threats to public health, welfare and/or the environment. These actions are limited in scope and cost. Removal actions are divided into emergency, time-critical or non-time critical.


Residual Phase:


Residual Range Organics (RRO): A common acronym for heavy fuel products such as Bunker C fuel or asphalt.


Responsiveness Summary: [Federal] A written summary of oral and/or written comments, criticisms, and new relevant information received by the agency during a public comment period and the agency’s responses to these comments. A responsiveness summary is an appendix to a Record of Decision.


Responsible Person (or Party) (RP): [State] A person who is required under AS 46.04.020 or AS 46.09.020 to contain or perform a cleanup of a discharge or release of a hazardous substance.


Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): [Federal] A federal law that established a regulatory system to track hazardous and solid wastes from their generation to disposal. The law requires safe and secure procedures to be used in treating, transporting, storing, and disposing of hazardous wastes. It also provides a framework for management of non-hazardous solid wastes. RCRA is designed to prevent the creation of new, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.


Response Fund (RF): Also known as "The Oil and Hazardous Substance Release Prevention and Response Fund (OHSRPRF), it is composed of two accounts; 1) the oil and hazardous substance release prevention account and 2) the oil and hazardous substance release response account. bullet Response Fund Administration Program - History of the Fund webpage Response Fund Administration (RFA): A program under the Spill Response and Prevention Division that administers the OHSRPRF "The Response Fund" (see above). bullet Response Fund Administration Program


Restoration Advisory Board (RAB): An advisory board which can be established at Department of Defense (DOD) sites or Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) which provides a forum through which local communities, installations, and regulatory agencies work together in an atmosphere that encourages discussion and information exchange.

bullet DEC's Alaska RAB's webpage.


Risk Assessment: A study to determine risks posed by the site if no cleanup action was taken and what cleanup levels need to be established to be protective of human health and the environment. There are two types of risk assessments. Human health risk assessment looks at the risks to humans from contamination at the site and an ecological risk assessment looks at the risks to ecosystems, such as plants, fish, and animals, from contamination at the site.

"Human Health Risk Assessment" fact sheet (PDF 111 K)
"Ecological Risk Assessment" (PDF 73 K)


Risk Management: The process of making decisions about whether an environmental risk is high enough to present a significant public health concern and about the appropriate means for controlling the risk. Risk management considers political, social, economic and engineering information in addition to risk information to evaluate and select alternative regulatory and non-regulatory responses to a potentail health hazard.


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S

Saturated zone: The zone below the water table where, permanently or seasonally, the rock pore spaces are filled with water.

 "Introduction to Groundwater" fact sheet (PDF 307 K)


Ship Escort Response Vessel System (SERVS): A corporate division of the Aleyska Pipeline Service Company whose mission is to prevent oil spills by assisting tankers in safe navigation through Prince William Sound and to protect the environment by providing effective response services to the Valdez Marine Terminal and Alaska Crude Oil Shippers in accordance with oil spill response agreements and plans.

bullet Alyeska's SERVS webpage.


Situation Report (SITREP): A brief report written by SPAR's Prevention and Emergency Response Program detailing the circumstances, situation, and actions taken in response to a pollution incident involving a release of oil or a hazardous substance.


Site: [State] An area that is contaminated, including areas contaminated by the migration of hazardous substances from a source area, regardless of property ownership.


Site Inspection: [Federal] The second stage of a site assessment. Typically includes review of existing data about the site and limited soil and water sampling to determine nature and extent of contamination.


Smear Zone: Soils between the top and bottom of the groundwater table that becomes saturated by the groundwater part of the year due to water table fluctuations. This area may become contaminated if contamination is floating on the top of the groundwater or if soil contamination extends into the smear zone.

 "Introduction to Groundwater" fact sheet (PDF 307 K)


Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE): A treatment technique that removes vapors from subsurface soils by removing air from the soils through special extraction wells. This system may be combined with air sparging.


Soil Washing: A treatment technique to remove contamination from soils. The contaminated soils are excavated and screened to remove large cobbles, debris, and gravel. The remaining soil is washed using a soap or solvent and the wash liquid is also treated. Very small soil particles, called fines, may not be easily treated in this manner and may require other treatment or disposal methods.


Solidification/ Fixation: A technique that involves physically mixing contaminated soils with cementing agents, creating a solidified mass that immobilizes the contamination and prevents exposure.


Southeast Alaska Response Team (SART): One of three regional response teams of the Prevention and Emergency Response Program of DEC who's primary function is to direct the State's response to a release of oil or a hazardous substance in Southeastern Alaska, with offices in Juneau and Ketchikan. The other response teams are the Central Alaska Response Team based in Anchorage, and the Northern Alaska Response Team based in Fairbanks.


Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization Inc. (SEAPRO): SEAPRO is Southeast Alaska's Response Action Contractor and Oil Spill Removal Organization. It is a cooperative non-profit corporation serving the needs of various facilities and vessels throughout the Southeast Alaska region. SEAPRO's mission is to provide oil spill response resources to any of its member companies in a spill. The organization's corporate offices are located in Ketchikan, Alaska.

bullet SEAPRO webpage.


Statement of Cooperation (SOC): The SOC is a partnership agreement between several state and federal agencies to work together to protect human health and the environment in Alaska. Parties to the agreement include DEC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S.Department of the Interior, the Alaska National Guard, Defense Energy Support Center, the U.S.Navy, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard. The SOC objectives are to work cooperatively to identify and respond to environmental issues and concerns in Alaska and to seek innovation, efficiency and flexibility, and to achieve uncompromised environmental protection. These are accomplished by maintaining open communication, undertaking a coordinated leadership role to promote compliance with environmental laws and pollution prevention, cooperating and creating partnerships to cleanup contamination and pollution, promoting training, and coordinating consultation with federally recognized tribes, as appropriate, when multiple parties are working on an issue that may affect tribes.


Streamlined Cleanup Program (SCP): [State] A state program intended to accelerate the cleanup of less hazardous sites, while continuing to protect human health and the environment.

bullet  DEC's Streamlined Cleanup Program webpage.


Structural/Mechanical (Cause): A structural/mechanical cause may include the following: containment/overflow; corrosion; crack; equipment failure; erosion; gauge/site glass failure; hull failure; leak; line failure; puncture; seal failure; support structure failure; tank failure; tank support structure failure; valve failure; and vehicle leaks.


Subsurface Soil: [State] Soil that is more than two feet below the ground surface.


Superfund: [Federal] The common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. It is refers to the trust fund.


Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA): [Federal] The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) on October 17, 1986. SARA stressed the importance of permanent remedies and innovative treatment technologies, required Superfund actions to consider standards and requirements found in other State and Federal environmental laws and regulations, increased State involvement in every phase of the Superfund program; and increased the focus on human health problems posed by hazardous waste sites. EPA's SARA webpage.


Surface Water: Bodies of water that are above ground, such as rivers, lakes, and streams. It could also include wetland areas where water may be present intermittently according to the season. It can also mean the snow melt or rain which is flowing on the ground surface.


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T

Tank Vessel: means a self-propelled waterborne vessel that is constructed or converted to carry liquid bulk cargo in tanks and includes tankers, tankships, and combination carriers when carrying oil; the term does not include vessels carrying oil in drums, barrels, or other packages, or vessels carrying oil as fuel or stores for that vessel.


Technical Assistance for Public Participation (TAPP): [Federal] A mechanism for community members on a Restoration Advisory Board or Technical Review Committee at a Department of Defense (DOD) site to obtain technical assistance to help them understand the scientific and engineering aspects of the cleanup. The Department of Defense, through the commander of the installation, provides funding for this assistance.


Technical Assistance Grant (TAG): [Federal] An EPA grant program that provides funds for qualified citizens’ groups at a Superfund site to hire independent technical advisors to help them understand and comment on technical decisions relating to Superfund sites.

bullet EPA's Technical Assistance Grant webpage.


Tetrachloroethylene (PERC or PCE): Tetrachloroethylene is a manufactured chemical that is widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics and for metal-degreasing. It is also used to make other chemicals and is used in some consumer products.

Other names for tetrachloroethylene include perchloroethylene, PCE, and tetrachloroethene. It is a nonflammable liquid at room temperature. It evaporates easily into the air and has a sharp, sweet odor. Most people can smell tetrachloroethylene when it is present in the air at a level of 1 part tetrachloroethylene per million parts of air (1 ppm) or more, although some can smell it at even lower levels.

Fact webpage on PERC, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


Time Critical Removals: [Federal] Includes emergencies lasting longer than 30 calendar days and where action will take place with six months of the lead agency’s determination that a removal action is necessary.


Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): [Federal] Enacted in 1976, this law requires testing, regulating, and screening all chemicals produced or imported in the U.S. for possible toxic effects. Any existing chemical that poses health and environmental hazards is tracked and reported under this law.

bullet Toxic Substances Control Act webpage.


Trichloroethylene (TCE): is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste. It is used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers.Trichloroethylene is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture, use, and disposal of the chemical.

Fact webpage on TCE, ToxFAQs, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)


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U

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps or COE): The federal agency selected by the Department of Defense (DOD) to be responsible for the investigation and cleanup of Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) and may serve as the contracting agent for other branches of the Department of Defense.

bullet U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The federal agency responsible for enforcing or overseeing the federal environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, RCRA, and the Superfund laws.

bullet U.S. EPA website.

 

Underground StorageTank (UST): 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 law does not include home heating oil tanks or tanks that store hazardous waste.
bullet DEC's Industry Preparedness Program UST webpage.

DEC Regulations 18 AAC 78.005(1)"underground storage tank" as that term is defined at AS 46.03.450 (12); and (2) "underground storage tank system" as that term is defined at AS 46.03.450 (13).


Unexploded Ordnance (UXO): Military munitions that have been primed, fused, armed or prepared for use and have been fired, dropped, launched or placed in a manner where intended for use but the item did not explode and thus poses a hazard.


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V

Vadose, or unsaturated zone: The subsurface zone above the water table in which some water maybe suspended within the pores of the soil and moving downward toward the water table or laterally toward a discharge point.

 "Introduction to Groundwater" fact sheet (PDF 307 K)


Vessel (Facility Classification): Vessels listed in the DEC SPILLS Database are classified as follows: Vessels 400 gross tons (GT) or more (includes barges, cargo vessels, other vessels, fishing vessels, passenger vessels, and tankers); Vessels less than 400 GT (includes cargo vessels, other vessels, fishing vessels and passenger vessels).

Vessel: includes tank vessels, oil barges, and nontank vessels.


Volatile Organic Compound (VOC): An organic (carbon-containing) compound that evaporates (volatilizes) readily at room temperature.


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W

Water Table: The boundary between the saturated and unsaturated zones. Generally, the level to which water will rise in a well (except an artesian well).

 "Introduction to Groundwater" fact sheet (PDF 307K)


Wellhead: The area immediately surrounding the top of a well or the top of a well casing.


White Alice (WACS) sites: The White Alice Communication System (WACS) sites relayed signals from Distant Early Warning (DEW line) defense communication sites to combat centers of the Alaskan air command. The White Alice sites used an over-the-horizon communications system throughout Alaska from about 1956 until 1979.  The stations wove a telephone and telegraph network by bouncing both civilian and military communications signals off the earth's troposphere, enabling combat centers to receive reports of aircraft detected by the Distant Early Warning Line. The system was designed by AT&T and built by the Western Electric Company, and took 3,500 people three years to complete. Ultimately there were 49 tropo sites. (See also DEW line.)


Workplan: Written plan that describes the planned actions, such as sampling and analysis, site investigation, site assessment or risk assessment. It includes the justification and instructions for conducting these activities. It also includes health and safety plans for the workers conducting these tasks.


Still don't know what that means? For questions, comments or more information, please contact:

SPAR Division Webmaster
Contaminated Sites Program
DEC Division of Spill Prevention and Response
410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 303
P.O. Box 111800
Juneau, AK 99811-1800
Telephone: (907) 465-5076
Fax Number: (907) 465-5218
Email Address: dec.sparwebmaster@alaska.gov