EPA ID# AK8570028649
EPA Region 10
Municipality of Anchorage

1st Congressional District

Other Names: USAF-Elmendorf AFB
Last Update: September, 2012

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Elmendorf Air Force Base (EAFB) site covers approximately 13,130 acres near Anchorage. The Installation is bounded by Knik Arm of Cook Inlet to the west, the municipality of Anchorage to the south, and Fort Richardson Army base (also on the NPL) to the east and north. More than half of the area at the site is undeveloped, including 1,416 acres of wetlands, lakes and ponds. The remaining area has been developed for airfield operations, base-support operations, housing, and recreational facilities. In 2010, Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson were merged under the Base Realignment and Closure to become Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER).
The Air Force has identified 33 parcels for investigation under Superfund. These parcels are grouped into six operable units, including: inactive landfills contaminated with lead, batteries, and waste solvents; inactive underground storage tanks where fuel leaks and spills have occurred since the mid-1950s; a shop-waste disposal area and former transformer area, where solvents, paints, and transformer leaks have contaminated soils with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); ten source areas consisting of hangars and aircraft maintenance facilities, a drum storage area and an inactive fire training area; fuel spill areas; former landfills and surface disposal areas; and pesticide storage and petroleum areas. A 27 Acre site, DP98, was added to the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) in 2004 to address chlorinated solvents in soils and groundwater. Investigations into Spill Site 22 (SS22) to determine the extent and magnitude of contamination have been underway since 2001. The area was historically used for materials handling and subsurface disposal of waste in pits and trenches, resulting in 28 potential areas of concern. A risk assessment, remedial investigation, and feasibility study are underway to characterize the site.
Current construction activities on the Installation may expose areas with buried debris or stained soils, resulting in new investigations for soil or groundwater contamination.
EAFB employs about 7,400 people, and approximately 8,600 people currently live on the base. Approximately 121,000 people reside within three miles of the site. Emergency backup water supply wells for EAFB are located within three miles of the identified contamination. Several sensitive environments exist within, adjacent to, or downgradient from the areas of contamination at the base. These include wetlands, moose habitats, beaver ponds, and Ship Creek, which has several active fisheries, including salmon.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through state and federal actions under a CERCLA federal facilities agreement.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:07/14/1989
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:08/30/1990
Deleted Date:

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Sludges
Soil and shallow groundwater beneath the various landfills, fuel storage facilities, training areas, and maintenance hangars located on base have been contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and other fuel contaminants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), PCBs, pesticides, asphalt and associated chemicals, and heavy metals including lead. No contaminants have been detected in the deeper confined aquifer at this time. Potential health risks include future contamination of a drinking water source, accidental ingestion of or direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soil. Local residents obtain their drinking water from the deeper confined aquifer. Wetlands and moose habitats may be threatened by site contamination.

Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Remedies have been selected, implemented and completed for six operable units as of September 30, 1998. However, the remedies for five of the areas will have to remain in place, with monitoring, for at least five more years to achieve final cleanup goals. In addition, two additional areas of potential concern were identified and investigated by the Air Force in the 2000 summer field season. The investigations have identified actual releases which pose potential elevated risks to public health or the environment. EPA and the State are negotiating the appropriate follow up actions to address the problems at these sites.

Early Actions: In 1990, the Air Force excavated, demolished and removed a 338,000-gallon underground storage tank along with contaminated soils. The soils are being treated through bioremediation. In early 1991, four one-million gallon underground storage tanks were taken out of service and drained. An interim remedy was selected in 1992 to address soil and groundwater contamination associated with these tanks. The remedy included removing and treating the floating product from the surface of the groundwater and reducing further movement of contaminated groundwater through containment of seeps. In 1993, construction of a collection and treatment system was completed by the Air Force, and is part of the final selected remedy for the tank area. During the Summer of 1993, in another area of the site, EAFB constructed an underground bioventing system to treat soils contaminated with petroleum, oils, and lubricants. Bioventing pilot tests were conducted in the fire training/fuel spill areas in 1993 and 1994, and bioventing is continuing as part of the final selected remedies in these areas. In 1994, the Air Force performed a state-supervised removal of a large quantity of asphalt (4,500 wooden drums) that had been buried in another area of the site. The asphalt was reclaimed and recycled.

Long-term Actions: In 1994, the Air Force completed an investigation and selected a remedy to address landfills on the site. The landfills had previously received a variety of hazardous wastes, including lead acid batteries and waste solvents. The selected remedy includes groundwater monitoring performed twice a year, and institutional controls established in 1996-1997.

An engineered wetland was built in 1996 to address contaminated seeps and groundwater along the southern boundary of Elmendorf adjacent to Ship Creek. Treatment pumps were removed in

In late 1994, the Air Force selected a cleanup approach for an underground storage tank area which includes continuing the removal of contaminants from the groundwater surface as described in the interim actions; excavating contaminated soils and proper abandonment of the tanks; and long-term groundwater monitoring. The tank and soil removal was completed in 1996, and final grading and seeding was completed in 1997. The groundwater treatment system started in 1993 is still operating and recovering small quantities of product. It will continue to be operated to recover contamination until such time as cleanup goals are met or until natural attenuation is sufficient to meet the cleanup goals within ten years.

In 1996-1997 a basewide Institutional Control program was implemented to protect against future exposure to contaminated media and prevent activities which could affect the performance of the remedial actions now in place. The specific controls range from fences around contaminated sites, to specific land use restrictions, to the prohibition of the use of groundwater from the shallow aquifer. The institutional controls are described in detail in the Elmendorf Airforce Base General Plan and the Environmental Restoration Program's Management Action Plan. Maps in the Plans outline the basewide and site-specific institutional controls. The Elmendorf Environmental Protection Committee (EPC) is responsible for overseeing compliance with these institutional controls. The implementation and effectiveness of these institutional controls are reviewed annually by the Elmendorf's Environmental Flight and any proposed changes affecting these controls are forwarded to EPA and ADEC for review.

In 1998 the remaining PCB-contaminated soil was disposed of at an approved hazardous waste disposal facility in Idaho. With this action, the only remaining cleanup activities planned for this site are the continued operation and monitoring of the various treatment systems and/or natural attenuation processes which will continue until such time as cleanup goals are met.

In 2002 a new site, DP-98, was discovered. An RI/FS was conducted in 2004. The COCs were TCE,PCE,DCE and vinyl chloride, in the soil and groundwater. The ROD was signed 17 June 2004, and required a Source Removal and Monitored Natural Attenuation for the groundwater. The Source Removal included 360 cu.yds. of soil and was conducted in June and July of 2005.

Spill Site 22 (SS22) is a former materials handling and disposal area with 28 areas of interest in debris piles, trenches, and disposal pits. The draft remedial investigation (Nov 2011) describes a suite of contaminants by their associated locations throughout the site. Contaminants exceeding cleanup standards in soils include PCE, TCE, PCBs, pesticides, metals, fuel related volatile organics. (VOCs), and Radium 226 (Ra-226). A groundwater plume is associated with one of the areas of concern (AOC) and contains chlorinated solvents. Soil gas contaminants include TCE and carbon tetrachloride and are detected in proximity to the groundwater plume. A Feasibility Study is anticipated in 2013 to help base the Record of Decision.

As required, five year reviews of cleanup actions were performed in 1998 and 2003 which confirmed that the current remedies are protective and are performing as planned. The next five year review is due in March 2014.

Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

SITE MANAGER(S):Sandra Halstead
E-MAIL ADDRESS:Halstead.Sandra@epa.gov
PHONE NUMBER:907-271-1218
Information pertaining to this site is housed at the following location(s):
Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS)

Library Building, Suite 111
3211 Providence Dr
Anchorage, AK 99508

Reference Desk
(907) 27-ARLIS
Hours: Mon - Fri, 8am - 5pm