Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Tank farm advisory board back in action


Following a three-year hiatus, the community Restoration Advisory Board for the clean-up of the U.S. Army tank farm site on Lutak Road will meet Dec. 12.

The meeting, including a report on recent restoration efforts, starts at 7 p.m. at the Chilkat Center. Identifying and filling “data gaps” will be the project’s next priorities.

Restructuring of Alaska Army bases and the relocation of the Army’s national “Environmental Command” effectively stopped work at the site for about two years. Work resumed this past summer. The local RAB board last met in June 2010.

Because several members of the RAB have left town since its last meeting, the Army also is seeking new members for the 20-member group. It’s charged with advising the effort to clean up the site of the Cold War tank farm that served as the terminus of a historic, jet-fuel pipeline to Fairbanks.

Brian Davis of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Wainwright is the new manager of the cleanup project. He said he’s looking forward to meeting with board members and said residents wishing to serve on the group should contact him at 907-361-6623 or at

The tank farm was built in the early 1950s. Cleanup of spilled petroleum products started in 1994.

Idaho-based Northwind, Inc. most recently held a five-year, performance-based contract for remediation work at the site.

The final year of the contract was not funded, but the Army is using the contractor for recent work that included re-starting the “sparge” soil-cleaning system and ground-water samples taken before and after sparging. Sparging involves injecting air into the soil, stripping benzene out of water molecules.

A “data gap analysis” report will be the Army’s next project, identifying unknowns concerning contamination. That report should be complete by the May 2014 RAB meeting, Davis said.

“It goes back to the fact that some work was duplicative,” Davis said. “This is to see what’s been overlooked or hasn’t been done.”

Ann Marie Palmieri, of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, said work in recent years at the site has been aimed at cleaning soil and keeping contaminants from migrating through the soil to Lynn Canal. Also, samples were taken at the sites of individual tanks in the early 1990s.

The DEC has previously expressed concerns about areas where testing hasn’t occurred.

Davis said he may have an estimate of the future time frame for the project during upcoming meetings.

Palmieri said she expects work may not be complete for another 10 years.