EPA ID# AK6214522157
EPA Region 10
Municipality of Anchorage

1st Congressional District

Last Update: September, 2012

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

Fort Richardson, constructed in 1940, occupies a 56,000 acre area located in the municipality of Anchorage, Alaska. The installation is bounded by the City of Anchorage, Elmendorf Air Force Base (also on the NPL) to the west and south, and by the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet to the northwestern border. The Fort's eastern boundary consist of Chugach State Park and undeveloped lands. In 2010, Fort Richardson was merged with Elmendorf Air Force Base under the Base Realignment and Closure process and is now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). Five operable units, A-E, have been established for CERCLA remediation activities.
During World War II, the Fort’s mission was to defend Alaska against foreign invaders. Its current mission is to command and control Army forces in Alaska and to provide the services, facilities, and infrastructure to support and train rapid deployment forces from Alaska to the Pacific theater. Prior to the formal investigation, three sources of contamination were identified by the Army: the Eagle River Flats (ERF) ordnance impact area; the Poleline Road Disposal Area (PRDA); and the Roosevelt Road Transmitter Site (RRTS). The ERF ordnance area encompasses 2,500 acres of wetlands associated with the Eagle River delta. The wetlands are an important habitat for waterfowl during Spring and Fall migrations. ERF has served as the primary ordnance impact area for Fort Richardson since World War II. PRDA consists of a disposal area used to bury chemical warfare agents, such as mustard gas, in the 1950s. RRTS consists of a bomb-proof underground bunker and the remnants of support facilities. The investigation looked at 17 other sites and the groundwater. In 2005, the Armored Vehicle Maintenance Area was added to the Fort Richardson Federal Facilities Agreement due to persistant organic solvents in groundwater. The Nike Summit Site stored Hercules missiles from 1959 to 1979 to defend the military base and Anchorage from possible Soviet Union attack during the Cold War. This 225 acre site is located on a 3900 ft ridge of the Chugach Mountain Range on the eastern boundry of the base, and was added to the FFA in 2011 due to contamination from chlorinated solvents and heavy metals.
New sites are often 'discovered' during construction activites on the base and will be investigated for contamination as needed.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal actions. The remediation of Work Area A was moved into a two party agreement between the Army and the State.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:06/23/1993
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:05/31/1994
Deleted Date:

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Sludges, Surface Water
At Eagle River Flats, sediment and surface water samples have revealed elevated levels of white phosphorous. Wetlands and waterfowl are threatened by site contamination Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have contaminated the soil at the RRTS. VOCs are present in the soil and shallow groundwater at PRDA. People who come into direct contact with or ingest contaminated sediment, surface water, soil, or groundwater may be at risk. AVMA contains a groundwater plume contaminated with chlorinated solvents. The Nike Summit site has fuel-related volatile organic compounds and chlorinated solvents in soils and groundwater, and heavy metals in soils.

Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

There are five work areas or operable units at the site. Each work area contains and addresses a varying number of contaminated sub-areas. The remedial investigations for work areas A, B, C, D, and E have been completed. A number of early actions were also completed at many of the work areas.

Early Actions
Operable Unit B: This area consists of two sub-areas that were used during the 1950s and 1960s for the disposal of chemical agent test kits. The Army performed an early action in Work Area B during the summers of 1993 and 1994. The action was done to remove potential chemical agent material (mustard and lewisite) and to remove the source of VOC contamination in the groundwater. Several chemical agent storage containers and associated material were also removed. In addition, 3500 cubic yards of soil were removed and cleanup of this soil was completed in the summer of 1998.

Operable Unit C: This area is the Eagle River Flats impact area. The contaminant of concern is white phosphorous (WP) in the sediments. Ingestion of WP by ducks is extremely toxic and generally results in convulsions and death. Early actions and treatability studies have included dredging of channels to remove WP-contaminated sediment, draining of ponds, and placement of bentonite barriers to prevent ingestion of contaminants. These actions have resulted in a decrease of duck mortality from several thousands of ducks for each migratory season to several hundred ducks.

Long-Term Actions
Operable Unit A: This area consists of three sub-areas; Roosevelt Road transformer station; the petroleum, oil and lubrication (POL) lab; and Ruff Road fire training site. The contaminants of concern are petroleum products. The remedy for the POL lab was removal of a drywell (the source of contamination). A treatment system demonstration for the Ruff Road fire training site was implemented in the summer of 1998. This demonstration is intended as a treatability study for the removal of volatile fuel and organic compounds from the soil at the fire training areas. This system operated during 1999 and will continue during 2000. During 1999 seven pounds of VOCs were removed from the soil using this system. Contamination has also been removed from the abandoned septic tank at Roosevelt Road.

Operable Unit B: Heat enhanced soil vapor extraction, or six-phase soil heating was used at OUB to remove contaminants from soil. This system was very effective in removal of contaminants within the soil column. However, in 2004 an additional contaminated area was discovered outside of the treatment zone. Free-phase solvent (PCE and TCE) was detected in a well adjacent to this area. In 2005 an SVE system was installed at the site but this system has not been very effective in removing contaminants due to the low permeability of soils. The Army continues to conduct groundwater monitoring and has been using a number of tools such as tracer studies, resistivity surveys, and development of geological and hydrological models to better understand the site. Additional wells were installed during 2007 to fill in gaps in the monitoring network. In general concentrations of COCs remain above RAOs within much of the former Hot Spot area and downgradient plume; however, overall concentrations are decreasing and contamination does not extend off-site.

Operable Unit C: The Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) and a Record of Decision (ROD) were completed on September 30, 1998. Pond pumping and waterfowl use and mortality studies were conducted during the summers from 1998 through 2007. Results from this work indicate that significant sediment drying and loss of white phosphorus is occurring in drained ponds. By 2006 the short term and long term goals for reduction of waterfowl mortalities established in the ROD had been achieved. Additional pond pumping continued during the summer of 2007. Additional detailed information on this site can be found at the US Army Corp of Engineers web site at

Operable Unit D: This OU incorporates all the remaining sites not addressed under one of the RODs for areas A through C. The principle concerns in these areas were groundwater contamination with organics such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and PCE. Operable Unit D originally consisted of 12 sites. After completion of the Remedial Investigation, six sites were determined to require no further action (Circle Road Drum Site, Dust Palliative area, Fire Training Pit, Grease Pits/Landfill, Stormwater Outfall to Ship Creek, and Building 726), two sites were referred to the State of Alaska underground storage tank (UST) agreement (Building 700/718 and Building 704), and 2 sites are being recommended for no further action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) after limited monitoring (Building 955, Former Sludge Bin, and Building 796-Battery Shop). A Record of Decision for these sites was finalized in September 2000.

Operable Unit E: Based upon new information two remaining sites required additional characterization to determine the source(s) and extent of contamination. These two sites are building 35-752 and Building 45-590 (now referred to as the Armored Vehicle Maintenance Area -AVMA). Building 35-752 includes soils contaminated with PCBs and the concern at the AVMA is groundwater contamination with solvents such as TCE. The OUE RI began in 2002 and focused on determining the source. An RI/FS was begun for OUE in the fall 2000. The Remedial Investigation work for OUE was conducted during the summer of 2002 and a ROD was signed August 2005. The selected remedy for PCE contaminated groundwater at the AVMa area was land use controls, natural attenuation, and monitoring. Groundwater monitoring has been conducted since 2006..

Nike Site Summit: This site was evaluated in the MMRP program and was recommended for further investigation via an RI. The risk assessment and remedial investigation were completed in May 2012. Remedial alternatives are under evaluation in the Feasibility Study. A record of decision on the preferred remedies is anticipated in December 2013.

Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

SITE MANAGER(S):Sandra Halstead
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