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Gustavus PFAS Project - August 31, 2020

Below is the Gustavus PFAS project update as of August 31, 2020. For additional information regarding the department’s statewide PFAS projects please visit http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater.

If you have questions, please contact the multi-agency PFAS project team:

COVID-19

In response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic it has been requested of countries, communities, companies and individuals to do their part to make every effort to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and their contractor, Shannon & Wilson, Inc., have submitted protective plans to the state of Alaska in accordance with Health Mandate 10. DOT&PF as well as Shannon & Wilson, Inc. are committed to ensuring the health, safety and protection of personnel, their families and the communities in which they serve.

As you are aware, DOT&PF is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of PFAS contamination at state owned airports. Evaluation includes past and present Part 139 airports and former Department of Defense sites that the department is responsible for. DOT&PF through Shannon & Wilson, Inc. is working to identify and sample potentially impacted communities, conduct ongoing monitoring, perform site characterization efforts and implement interim and long-term drinking water solutions where wells have been impacted. The department believes this work is essential for the health and safety of Alaskans and would like to continue mitigation efforts in your community.

In addition to the protective plans stated above, Shannon & Wilson, Inc. has created guidance specifically for private well sampling and other field work. Residential sampling requires special consideration due to the nature of the work, as Shannon & Wilson, Inc. sampling staff regularly enter private residences in order to collect a water sample. They have implemented practices to protect staff, residents and the community.

Shannon & Wilson, Inc. field personal shall adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Working with DOT&PF closely to ensure project tasks are considered essential;
  • COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control;
  • Prior to scheduling travel DOT&PF and Shannon & Wilson, Inc. will contact local government and/or tribal leadership, travel accommodation providers, and where possible, individual residents to determine if residents and businesses are agreeable to staff entering their premises;
  • Travel will not take place until permission from the local and/or tribal government is received by DOT&PF and Shannon & Wilson, Inc.;
  • Field staff will ask residents a series of questions to determine if the environment is safe to enter for all parties involved;
  • Field staff will not collect samples where either the owner or occupant refuses access; and
  • When possible, field staff will purge wells and obtain a sample from an outside spigot.

DOT&PF recognizes that some communities have set local ordinances specific to their area outside of Health Mandate 18 issued by Governor Mike Dunleavey May 11, 2020. DOT&PF and Shannon & Wilson, Inc. will coordinate with your local governments to ensure compliance and the appropriate permits are obtained.

View the DOT&PF COVID-19 Management Plan.

Updates Since October 2019

In October 2019 Shannon & Wilson conducted a quarterly sampling event. Approximately 18 samples were collected during this event. Of the sampled wells, one new well serving four structures exceeded the EPA’s LHA level. A total of 20 wells have been reported to have PFAS concentrations above the actionable levels. Also in October 2019 Shannon & Wilson performed site characterization, a report was submitted to DEC and approved on April 10, 2020. A report summarizing sampling events from November 2018 through December 2019 was also submitted to DEC for review and approved on August 20, 2020. In July 2020 DOT&PF contacted residents who had not yet filed a claim with Risk Management encouraging them to do so.

Upcoming Work August/September 2020

Shannon & Wilson will be in Gustavus for an annual sampling event Aug. 30, 2020 through Sept. 3, 2020. Approximately 31 private and 15 monitoring well samples will be collected. This is the follow up sampling to the monitoring wells that were installed last fall during site characterization activities. Shannon & Wilson will also be collecting samples from the Point of Entry Treatment system that was installed as part of a pilot study. Shannon & Wilson will work with the local driller to install three exploration wells in order to identify and sample a potential locations for a supplemental water supply well to use in conjunction with cisterns (rain catchment systems). The wells will be sampled to understand the water quality in addition to PFAS, and the information collected will be used to design a supplemental well.

Risk Management Updates

The Division of Risk Management has hired a new Claims Administrator, Ken Simpson. If you have not filed a claim with the Division of Risk Management for your impacted well, please contact Ken as soon as possible to begin your claim process.

Website Updates

The DOT&PF Gustavus PFAS website has been updated to include information since the most recent sampling event. Community members and stakeholders can sign-up for or cancel community updates at the following link: http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater/gustavus/; email: airportwater@alaska.gov with any questions.