A series of underground maps designed to give researchers a picture of groundwater depth and flow direction in central Nikiski have been completed.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough contracted with a private firm for the groundwater modeling study which surveyed well locations, static water levels and more than 60 wells in the area of land between the McGahan Industrial Park, the AIMM Monofill site, the Cook Inlet and the east property line of Nikiski High School.
Researchers will present their findings during a March 23 meeting at 50810 Island Lake Road in Nikiski.
The borough signed a $119,970 contract with Anchorage-based DOWL HKM to perform the study after the state awarded $150,000 for the venture in a capital budget reappropriation in 2013.
Community discussion over potential groundwater contaminants in the area was rekindled when Texas-based AIMM Technologies proposed, and ultimately built, a waste disposal site on a 1.5 acre plot that will store up to 10 million gallons of petroleum waste at the end of Halliburton Drive.
During the 15-month process of getting the project permitted, residents in the area said they were concerned that the site would join, or affect a neighboring piece of land known as the Arness Septage site.
At the septage site, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation officials have said that at least 4,200 gallons of oil-contaminated waste, sludge and other pollutants were improperly stored.
No one knows the extent of the pollution or how much of it got into the groundwater.
The Arness Septage site was included in the survey. In addition, data from six wells built by AIMM Technologies was to be included in the model. However, project planners stressed that they would not be testing for pollutants.
“This study is not to show whether there is contamination in the area,” said DOWL HKM Public Involvement Manager Rachel Steer during a November 2014 Nikiski community meeting.
“This study could be used in the future to determine where contaminants have traveled, but this is the first step that you need to do to be able to do anything else.”
Reach Rashah McChesney at Rashah.firstname.lastname@example.org