Table of Contents
|Contaminated Site Cleanup|
|Financial Assistance Program||Area-wide and Risk-Based Assessments|
The third goal of the Division of Spill Prevention and Response's (SPAR) mission is response – keeping Alaska cleaner.
Shoreline cleanup following the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
The core elements of response include:
- emergency response;
- contaminated site cleanup;
- financial assistance program for underground storage tank owners;
- area-wide and risk-based assessments.
SPAR’s main response objectives are the protection of public safety, public health and the environment from the direct or indirect effects of the spill; adequate cleanup of the spill; assessment and restoration of damages to property, natural resources and the environment; and the recovery of costs from the responsible party to the Response Fund.
Emergency response – a combined effort to contain, control and clean up a spill -- is the best way to mitigate impacts and keep costs down in a world where natural resource damage costs can outstrip the costs of the response itself. Emergency response focuses on immediate containment, cleanup and removal of gross contamination. Abandoned drums may contain unknown material with a serious health or environmental threat, and must be secured, characterized and disposed of appropriately. A clandestine drug lab can contain dangerous and environmentally damaging chemicals and required complicated cleanup. The variety of spills reported to SPAR is great and no two emergency responses are alike. Over 2,000 spill reports are received annually.
Contaminated Site Cleanup
The M/V Kuroshima grounding at Summer Bay near Dutch Harbor in December 1997 resulted in a spill of 39,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil and an intensive cleanup effort lasting several months.
Spill cleanup becomes more difficult once a spill soaks into the ground and migrates through groundwater, across property lines or under buildings. Significant progress has been made to clean up the state’s most threatening military, state-owned, and industrial contaminated sites. There are currently over 2,000 known contaminated sites in Alaska. Hydrocarbons are the primary contaminant at 80% of these sites.These cleanups benefit the health of Alaska’s citizens by reducing exposure to hazardous and toxic substances. With the improvement in chemical, fuel and hazardous materials handling by both the military and Alaskan industry, we are not creating the same contaminated site problems today that we had in the past. Alaska is getting cleaner, and will stay cleaner, as a result.
Financial Assistance Program
A program to assist owners of leaking underground storage tanks helped to upgrade or close over 6,000 underground storage tanks across Alaska and clean up the contamination from these tanks. The program was completed in 2003.
Areawide and Risk-Based Assessments
Areawide assessments help determine the cumulative risk from multiple sources of contamination to target the best options for remediation on an area-wide basis. Risk-based assessments consider present and potential use, affected population, and other site-specific factors to determine an appropriate cleanup strategy. If cleanup is technologically or economically unfeasible, institutional controls allow contamination to remain in place subject to property use restrictions that protect public health and the environment.
For more information about the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, please contact:
Louise Cochrane, Secretary for Larry Dietrick, 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