Waste improperly disposed of in Salcha, DEC investigating

Eielson Air Force Base front gate (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) On April 23, 2020, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) was made aware of improper waste disposal occurring at two gravel pits owned by Rolling Stone, Inc. in Salcha, Alaska.

The improper waste disposal involved contracts managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in support of F-35 facility mission requirements for the 354th Fighter Wing (354th FW) at Eielson Air Force Base.

The USACE field office was notified of the incident on April 24, 2020 and preliminary information suggested that contractors for five F-35 contracts failed to follow approved waste disposal plans and improperly disposed of the waste.

It has been confirmed that High Expansion Foam (HEF) waste was improperly disposed of in this incident. Of the approximately 45,000 gallons of waste that was generated, it is believed that approximately 33,000 gallons were improperly discharged on the ground, and the remaining 12,000 gallons are stored in containers at the gravel pits. The HEF waste does not contain perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) / perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and this incident is not related to the known PFOS/PFOA contamination associated with the base and adjacent community of Moose Creek.

Together, ADEC, USACE and the 354th FW are committed to working collaboratively to protect human and environmental health. Our three organizations have agreed on a testing plan to properly characterize the containerized waste and determine any potential environmental impacts caused by the improper discharge of waste. Following the results of the testing and ADEC’s determination of the potential responsible party or parties, a coordinated investigation and cleanup response will be established, to include drinking water considerations for the local community.

Drinking water considerations will be determined by a survey for water wells near each dumping site and drinking water well sampling within a mile of the properties.

The incident remains under investigation. More information will be provided when available.