Contamination can result from intended, accidental, or naturally occurring activities and events, such as manufacturing, mining, and military activities, waste disposal, accidental spills, illegal dumping, leaking storage tanks, storms, floods, earthquakes, improper pesticide use, etc. Alaska inherited some contaminated sites at statehood, and received others resulting from subsequent military, government, industrial, and other activities on state land.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines contaminants as “any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance found in air, water, soil or biological matter that has a harmful effect on plants or animals; harmful or hazardous matter introduced into the environment.” Contamination is regulated by numerous state and federal regulations.
Most contaminated sites on state owned land are regulated either by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Contaminated Sites Program (CSP) under 11 AAC 75, or by EPA, or by other federal agencies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.
SAIL represents the state's landowner interests related to regulated contaminated sites and works with state and federal regulators and responsible parties, to move contaminated sites on state land toward closure and reuse.
While DNR's goal is to achieve complete cleanup, that is not always possible. When contaminated site closure is proposed with land use restrictions and/or engineering controls and environmental covenants required by the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act, SAIL will work with responsible parties, regulators, and the public to evaluate and potentially implement institutional controls and environmental covenants on state land that protect human health and the environment.
How do I report contamination on state land?
Review DEC and EPA spill reporting requirements. If you encounter a reportable quantity of oil or a hazardous substance on state land, see SAIL's spill reporting requirements web page.
Who in DNR should I work with to deal with a contaminated site on state land?
First, go to the map of DNR regions to determine in which region the contaminated site is located, then contact the SAIL staff assigned to that region. For oil and gas contamination on the North Slope, contact DMLW's “North Slope Team” in the Northern Regional office.