Borough Wins Grant to Assess Island Sites for Contamination

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough won a grant that will help it assess sites on the island that may be contaminated.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that they’ve selected the borough and its partners, the City of Kodiak and Natives of Kodiak, for an award of $600,000 dollars.

Kodiak is one of 172 communities nationwide to get a portion of the $56.8 million dollars, all of which go toward the assessment of “brownfields” or areas that may be contaminated.

Daniel Mckenna-Foster, a long range planner with the Borough Community Development Department, says the borough will focus on sites that are known for past military use like Long Island, Termination Point, and Swampy Acres.

“Those are all probably petroleum contamination from when the Navy or the Department of Defense or whoever was using it in past decades – they were storing stuff there or maybe they were using the ground for something else. And in terms of other types of contamination, there might be some places out in the villages that have been used as a landfill, so they might have different types of contamination beyond just petroleum.”

He says those sites may have been exposed to hazardous waste, like the kind of material that came from electronics in the 50s and 60s for instance.

Out of the 18 different sites Kodiak may check out, Mckenna-Foster says one half will be surveyed for petroleum and the other half for hazardous waste.

He says they’ll come up with a site inventory and hire a consultant, Stantec, which is familiar with environmental remediation. The grant covers inventory, area-wide plans, cleanup plans, and community outreach.

Mckenna-Foster says this could be a first step towards further land development around the city or out in one of Kodiak’s villages.

“You know, maybe they need a school or a community building or they’d like to put in some sort of industry, but they can’t because there’s something in the ground, but they don’t know exactly what’s there. And so this will be the kind of thing – say, well, we’ve got this site, this is what’s there, this is what it’s gonna take to clean up and then that makes it just so much easier to move forward or decide how to better use that land rather than just not knowing what’s in the ground.”

The selected communities must submit a work plan for the EPA’s approval before they receive the grant.

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