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Commission votes down soil contamination site in community

September 25, 2018

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Some Kodiak residents will no longer have to worry about a contaminated soil remediation site coming to their neighborhood.

The Planning and Zoning Commission last week voted against granting a permit that would have established the site in the Dark Lake neighborhood, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Monday.

The Kodiak Island Borough Engineering and Facilities Department discovered the contaminated soil in the spring while doing work at Kodiak Middle School. The first choice was to move the soil to the landfill, but a permitting issue got in the way.

The Dark Lake site was a “last resort choice” that came out of necessity, said Daniel McKenna-Foster of Kodiak Island Borough’s Community Planning Department.

The proposed site would have used a bioremediation process in which stored contaminated soil is periodically turned over or tilled to aerate the mixture until contaminants are removed.

A Community Planning Department document states that remediation at the proposed site “would not be harmful to the public health, safety, convenience or comfort” and that the movement of the soil was necessary “for the safety of Middle School students.”

The site was previously used for this exact purpose between 2010 and 2012, when contaminated soil was discovered at Kodiak High School.

Residents expressed concern over possible effects on property prices. Many of the residents suggested that the landfill is the most suitable spot for any kind of remediation and that the borough should focus its efforts on fixing the permitting issues there.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission appeared to agree with the residents, before unanimously voting to deny the permit.

“This is not a good location,” said commission chair Scott Arndt.

There is reason to believe that the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will seek out other options rather than appeal the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision.

The question of where to establish the remediation site still remains.

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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