This week, representatives from the Army will give another update on the effort to address contamination at the former Haines fuel terminal and tank farm on Lutak Road. The contamination stems from the time of the Haines-Fairbanks Pipeline, built by the Army in the 1950’s.
The Army’s contractors conducted extensive testing at the site last year. In December, they presented preliminary results, showing where they found potential pollutants in the soil. Contractor Arden Bailey spoke at the December meeting.
“Yeah we found contamination out there, but this is the end of the investigation period for the tank farm and we’re going to clean it up,” Bailey said. “And so, [Army representatives] came to us and said ‘find every dead body. Find every place there’s contamination that you can.’ And we did.”
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation project manager Anne Marie Palmieri says in December, the Army could say where they thought there might be pollution. But now, they have more definitive results.
“The results actually say how much benzene or diesel range organics [exist in the soil,] so they can look at those values and compare them with a number of different screening levels we’re looking at, and draw a circle around what we think the contaminated area extent is.”
Palmieri says there will be more testing this summer. Gathering the data is a crucial step in the endeavor to clean up the area for good.
A representative from the Army Corps of Engineers will also present at the meeting about a separate but related project. The Corps has identified two contaminated sites along the former pipeline route, at about 15 and 23 Mile on the Haines Highway.
The meeting of the Fuel Terminal Restoration Advisory Board is Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Chilkat Center.