Search for oil leak source is continuing

Posted: Sunday, March 05, 2000

The search for the source of heating oil that contaminated the Auke Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant a week ago is still ongoing.

A contractor drilled additional bore holes at the site near the Auke Bay post office Friday afternoon in an attempt to locate the source, said Scot Tiernan of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Spill Prevention and Response.

Eighty gallons of oil were initially collected in a sump at the site. However, the sump collected only five gallons Friday, Tiernan said, so it appears the source does not have infinite resources behind it.

Tiernan theorized the heating oil came from lines leading from a tank to an apartment complex on Glacier Highway. The tank was removed earlier in the week.

``We are doing the best we can to chase down the problem,'' said Myron Klein of Wright Services Inc. Since 1974, Klein has owned the property that may be the source of the oil.

About 60 yards of contaminated soil had been removed as of Friday, with possibly another 30 yards to be taken away. All removed soil is being transported to United Soil Recycling in Juneau for treatment.

The treatment plant has been shut down because the oil killed the beneficial microbes used to treat sewage. It will not operate until the source of the oil is found and the levels of poisonous oil within the plant's sludge allow reseeding with beneficial microbes.

The city is removing contaminated water and inactive sludge from the treatment plant. The water and sludge are being burned in the city's sludge incinerator. New microbial feed stock is being ordered to reseed the plant once cleanup operations are complete, according to DEC officials.

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