NPL Site Narrative for Fort Wainwright
Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska
Federal Register Notice: August 30, 1990
Conditions at proposal (July 14, 1989): Fort Wainwright, in Fairbanks North Star Borough near Fairbanks, Alaska, was established in 1947. Its primary mission is to train soldiers and test equipment in arctic conditions. Industrial operations primarily involve maintenance of aircraft and vehicles.
Fort Wainwright consists of a cantonment area (4,473 acres) on the eastern border of Fairbanks, a range complex (8,825 acres), and two maneuver areas (898,306 acres). Among contaminated areas on the cantonment area is a 50-acre sanitary landfill that has received waste oil, waste fuel, spent solvents, paint residues, and fuel tank sludge since the mid-1950s. The landfill is an unlined, unbermed area that is built up higher than the surrounding terrain. A second contaminated area is the proposed North Family Housing Area, which is 3,500 feet from the landfill. The Army used the area for storage of petroleum products, solvents, and other chemicals and for disposal of power plant ash and slag, which contain heavy metals such as chromium and mercury.
Fort Wainwright is participating in the Installation Restoration Program (IRP), established in 1978. Under this program, the Department of Defense seeks to identify, investigate, and clean up contamination from hazardous materials. In 1985 and 1986, as part of IRP studies, lead and chromium were detected in monitoring wells at the landfill; in 1987, chromium and tetrahydrofuran were detected in monitoring wells at the proposed housing area, and chromium was detected in soil. An estimated 11,000 people, including the entire population at Fort Wainwright (10,900 people), obtain drinking water from wells within 3 miles of hazardous substances on the fort.
The Chena River is used for sport fishing within 3 miles downstream.
The Army is developing a workplan for a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the type and extent of contamination at the fort and identify alternatives for remedial action. The workplan is expected to be completed in the fall of 1989.
Status (August 30, 1990): EPA, the Army, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are in the preliminary stages of negotiating an Interagency Agreement (IAG) under CERCLA Section 120 that will facilitate the RI/FS. The IAG is expected to be signed in September 1990. The Army will submit RI/FS workplans for units specified in the IAG under an agreed upon time schedule.
For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.