Land farming: Decontaminating petroleum-tainted soil in Juneau

Juneau's place for contaminated soil seeks permit

Contaminated soil may have a place to recover if Juneau’s Bicknell Inc. gets the permits for its proposed land farm near the end of Industrial Blvd.

The Bicknell land farm measures 6,000 square feet and is underlain with an impermeable liner. The farm then has a layer of sand and six inches of gravel and the entire area is covered by a 15-foot tall pole barn. Its purpose is the remediation of soil contaminated with petroleum, primarily home heating oil.

Bicknell Inc. is owned by Roscoe Bicknell III and Roscoe Bicknell IV, the company’s president.

“We’re still looking at it, still going through the permitting process,” said Roscoe Bicknell IV.

Bicknell said the land farm helps keep resources in Juneau. A certain amount of soil is contaminated by home heating oil and similar fuels in Juneau, but there isn’t a place in town now in which to rehabilitate the dirt, Bicknell said.

“People must ship it out,” Bicknell said. “We want to keep it all local.”

Locals with contaminated soil should contact the Department of Environmental Conservation. A local contractor can be hired to move the contaminated soil to Bicknell’s land farm, Bicknell said.

Bicknell said the process his company uses to clean the contaminated soil is proprietary and a secret; it does involve aeration. At the end of the process the soil can be reclaimed as fill material or top soil.

“It’s better than shipping it to Oregon to a big hole in the ground,” Bicknell said.

Bicknell said he has a temporary permit to stockpile contaminated soil now.

“I think everything should be underway this season,” Bicknell said. “Just waiting for the tail end of the permitting process.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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