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Leaking oil tank activates new spill cleanup agreement with Ketchikan

Release Date: 3/26/1997
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March 26, 1997

While making repairs to Betty King Alley in Ketchikan on Monday, a City work crew discovered an old abandoned heating oil tank buried under the narrow wood plank alley. The tank was deteriorated and had been leaking for some time.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation was notified by Ketchikan
Public Utilities and sent a member of the agency's Southeast Alaska Response Team to the site. Fuel around the tank and contaminated soil was deemed a health hazard due to risk of fire and inhalation of fumes by nearby building occupants. The Alley has been closed until cleanup is complete.

According to Ron Flinn, the State's On-Scene Coordinator, "The oil is contained in the area of the tank and does not appear to represent an environmental threat."

The tank has been abandoned and disconnected for many years, and it's owner has not yet been determined.

Under the terms of a new "local response agreement" between Ketchikan and DEC, the City will conduct the cleanup, under direction of Flinn. The agreement allows the department to reimburse the City for spill response and cleanup costs.

This is the first time the State and a local community have conducted a coordinated response under the agreement. Flinn said, "This is an opportunity for the State and local communities to work together to solve problems of concern to both. It's a good start for this new program. "

So far DEC has entered into Local Response Agreements with 11 communities statewide.

For more information, contact Ron Flinn, DEC Juneau, 907-465-5357.