Borough plans Nikiski environmental investigation

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Thursday, February 6, 2014 9:10pm
  • News

After receiving $150,000 last session for an environmental investigation in Nikiski, the Kenai Peninsula Borough is working to make sure its plan for the project falls under what the grant allows.

“(We’re) figuring out where the gaps of information are, so the public has some reasonable assurance that their water is safe to drink,” Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said. “And that we’re doing what we can to provide them with information about that.”

The investigation stems from resident concerns about water contamination from Arness Septage, a site that saw at least 4,200 gallons of oil waste and other pollutants in the early 1980s.

Last summer the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued a permit to AIMM Technologies Inc. to build a drilling waste monofill storage site to the southwest and adjoining the Arness Septage property.

AIMM installed six monitoring wells to satisfy the permit applications, according to DEC.

Phase one of the plan includes gathering all available well logs as well as surveying static water levels in existing wells. That data will then be used to determine the water table, the level below ground saturated with water, as well as various aquifers, bodies of saturated rock that can transmit water. From there the phases calls for geologic maps to be drawn and the groundwater flow directions to be determined.

“Trying to determine which way groundwater is flowing, which aquifer goes where so that if you have wells that test clean, which way the water’s moving and if there are wells that are contaminated, where it’s going to, so that part is just figuring out what’s happening,” Navarre said.

Along with a report summarizing the study’s findings, the borough will also make recommendations for the second phase of the investigation. Navarre said phase one will help to determine what the next steps will be and what the cost will be.

Joe Arness worked with his brother Jim Arness and DEC to come up with a plan to assess the site. They drilled a well last summer to about 125 feet and tested it.

It showed, 0.012 parts per million of trichlorethane, a cleaning solvent, the same level as a previously tested well. He said that’s about 1/20th of what’s considered safe in drinking water. Joe Arness said they drilled through the “worst spot,” so if there was serious contamination, that’s where it would be.

He said they considered drilling a third well to help determine groundwater flow direction.

“But the information from the first two wells … it didn’t really say anything and so I’m very skeptical that a third well would have told us anything different or anything new,” Arness said.

He said he is waiting to see how the borough’s plans proceed and its results before doing any further work, especially with a “low-level contamination” result from testing from last summer.

“I talked with several people about it and virtually everyone of them said, ‘There’s not much you can do about cleaning it up anyway,’” Arness said. “One hundred twenty feet down over time it will deteriorate, but it takes a long time when it’s underground like that.”

 

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

A tweet from former President Donald Trump is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. From left, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Soumya Dayananda, committee investigative staff counsel, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Trump to Justice Dept.: Call election ‘corrupt’

Three Trump-era Justice Department officials recounted persistent badgering from the president

Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone can be seen on this map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Image via fisheries.noaa.gov)
Court ruling reopens part of Cook Inlet to commercial salmon fishing

The United Cook Inlet Drift Association called the court’s ruling a “victory”

Anglers gather along the banks of the Kenai River near Sportsman’s Landing in Cooper Landing in September 2018. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Sockeye limits to increase for Russian River, Upper Kenai

Sport anglers are now permitted a bag limit of six sockeye salmon per day and 12 in possession

The Kenai River runs alongside a strip of land near the Sterling Highway on May 17, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. The City of Soldotna was awarded $360,000 from a federal grant program offered through the U.S. Economic Development Agency to start planning what’s been called a “main street” adjacent to the Kenai River. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna gets federal funds to plan revamped riverfront

The project, if completed, would address about 85 acres of land running along the Kenai River

Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Intermittent closures coming to Lowell Point Road

The work is in part of ongoing work related to the May 7 landslide

Most Read