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Alaska school district meets extended fuel transfer deadline

September 6, 2019

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska school district has met a deadline to move fuel storage tanks that were threatened by a rapidly eroding riverbank, a report said.

The Lower Kuskokwim School District finished relocating the tanks at the community school in Napakiak Saturday, KYUK-AM reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard granted a 24-hour extension of its Aug. 30 deadline to complete the transfer of 36,000 gallons (136,271 liters) of diesel away from the Kuskokwim River.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will determine if more action is needed to treat the site in the community 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Bethel.

Accelerated erosion has been responsible for more than 100 feet (30 meters) of lost shoreline this year. The school district was ordered to transport the fuel into new tanks further away from the river to prevent environmental harm.

The Napakiak school parking lot has become a bulk fuel tank area wedged between a basketball court, the school building and teacher housing.

The transfer project involved building a gravel foundation with a sandbag perimeter and making a custom liner weighing 1,650 pounds (748 kilograms) to prevent fuel from seeping into the ground.

Faulkner-Walsh Constructors co-owner Steve Walsh said his company received the contract for the transfer nine days before the deadline.

“We’ve moved a lot of buildings and things in the villages, but I don’t think this quickly,” he said. “Fortunately, we had a barge sitting in Bethel and a lot of the pieces of the puzzle already in place.”

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Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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