Chemical cleanup having some success at Kenai River site near Soldotna

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2001

KENAI (AP) -- Chemicals injected into the ground seem to be working faster than expected to neutralize some dry cleaning fluid migrating into the Kenai River near Soldotna.

The dry cleaning chemicals are believed to have come from a former dry cleaning business at the River Terrace RV Park.

The state hopes the treatment formula also will fertilize some naturally occurring bacteria that will digest the remaining contamination.

State officials said concentrations of the dry cleaning fluid have fallen dramatically since the fertilizer was introduced in October.

But not much has happened lately. And that has some observers concerned.

Fairbanks hydrologist Michael Lilly said the biological cleanup at the River Terrace site may depend upon the chemistry of the groundwater and the soil. Lilly said it's important to know something about the site beforehand before predicting the effects of such treatment.

Pilot studies were done of the area before the fertilizers were injected, Rich Sundet with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Sundet said everything came back indicating there was a high probability the treatment would work at the site. The state has installed monitoring wells to track the effects of the treatment.

The site was contaminated with a dry cleaning solvent from the 1960s to 1988. The contamination was brought to the state's attention in 1992, and cleanup work has been under way there since.

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