New study highlights pollution at tank farm

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2001

HAINES (AP) -- As much as 4,600 gallons of diesel fuel per year may be leaking from the old Haines Army Fuel Terminal into Lutak Inlet, according to a new pollution study.

The study, commissioned by the Chilkoot Indian Association and conducted by Anchorage consultant Simon Mawson, blasts Army cleanup efforts and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for not doing enough to prevent gasoline and diesel fuel contamination from leaving the terminal site.

The Chilkoot association commissioned the study after the Tlingit-Haida Central Council found lead and other contaminates in mussels collected in l999 at Tanani Point. Chilkoot tribal members have complained that the Army ignored their claims that fuel leaking from the tank farm has contaminated subsistence foods they gather at the point.

But Mawson's conclusions shouldn't be taken at face value before the assertions behind them are backed up, said DEC project manager Ann Marie Palmieri. The official leading the Army's eight-year cleanup at the tank farm, Melody Marsh, also said the report lacks documentation.

''There wasn't anything there that was real strong as far as data goes,'' Marsh said. ''I want to know how the samples were taken, and who analyzed it. This report is written with a lot of assumptions.''

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