$25 million cleanup may end by winter

PCBs, lead, asbestos removed from polluted scrap yard near Fairbanks

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2003

FAIRBANKS - A scrap yard identified nearly 15 years ago as a contaminated site and environmental hazard is nearly cleaned up, according to regulatory agencies.

At the end of the project, the Department of Defense will have spent about $25 million cleaning up the Arctic Surplus scrap yard, a 24-acre site off the Richardson Highway about five miles southeast of Fairbanks.

So far 22,000 pounds of asbestos, 75 gallons of chlordane, numerous waste drums, lead battery casings and transformers containing oils with polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly called PCBs, have been removed from the site.

"PCBs and lead are the two contaminants that still remain," said Neil Thompson of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most contaminated soil will be removed and shipped out of state to a treatment facility. Approximately 8,500 cubic yards of soil with lower levels of contamination will be mixed with concrete, compacted, covered with a clay liner, capped and covered with gravel.

Donald Shashy, project manager for contractor Earth Link, said the adjustments and their design will be better for the community.

"Basically, with this cap in place, we will see zero contamination from the area into the ground water," Shashy said.

At a meeting last week, some residents voiced concern about nearby contaminated water but cleanup officials said it is not from the scrap yard. Thompson said regulators have been monitoring groundwater on the property and along the perimeter for 10 years in 24 wells and have not found any indication of groundwater contamination from the site.

Four homes north of the property have received special attention.

"Clean wells along the perimeter indicate nothing has migrated," said Lt. Col. Daniel Welch of the Defense Logistics Agency.

Crews worked through winter and are expected to complete the cleanup by December, Shashy said.

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