Barrels dumped in Nikiski

Troopers, Salamatof Native Association look for perpetrators

Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, not to mention the Salamatof Native Association, are keen on discovering who dumped 11, 55-gallon drums containing who knows what on association property near Escape Route Road in Nikiski.

According to troopers, a member of the Nikiski Fire Department notified them Saturday afternoon of the illegally dumped barrels, reported as 10 at the time, containing unknown substances next to the Escape Route near Nikiski.

Efforts to reach a trooper spokesperson at the Kenai Unit were unsuccessful.

Bob Petit, an environmental program specialist with the Kenai office of the DEC, said the barrels — 11 of them — were apparently filled but were not leaking. The barrels were not opened or their contents tested. Labels on the barrels indicated they originally had contained things like motor oil and other liquids, Petit said.

“They were relatively new drums,” he said, noting that they were of various colors. “Obviously everyone is trying to find out who did this. If anyone has any idea, the troopers are very interested in getting that information.”

Petit said it would likely have taken a truck bigger than a pickup to dump the barrels all in one trip. Apparently, the barrels had not been there very long. There was no snow accumulation on top of them, he said.

The Salamatof Native Association owns the property on which the barrels were dumped, Petit said, and the association is working to get them removed. An attempt to reach Native association spokesperson Penny Carty by phone Tuesday was not successful.

Petit said, however, that he had talked with Carty who had lamented that the Native association had recently spent about $2,000 on an operation to clean up abandoned cars on association property.

The Kenai DEC office occasionally has to deal with such illegal dumping. It is a crime difficult to understand, given the opportunity available to deposit such materials properly.

“Hopefully, people are getting aware of the options rather than dumping stuff on someone else’s property and burdening someone else with the problem,” he said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Department schedules regular hazardous waste collection days at its landfills in Soldotna and Homer and transfer site in Seward.

The next such event in Soldotna is set for Jan. 13. The borough contracts with an Anchorage firm, PSC Environmental Services, which comes to the peninsula to collect the hazardous materials. The standard fee for commercial customers, set by the borough, is $4 per gallon.

Businesses wishing to deliver waste materials must pre-register.

Private citizens delivering less than 55 gallons are not charged for the service.

Paul Nielsen, Alaska sales manager for PSC Environmental, said commercial customers have several options and do not have to deliver to the borough dump.

Other reputable environmental service companies are to be found in the Yellow Pages and can contract to handle commercial hazardous waste, Nielsen said.

“There is no excuse for dumping it on the ground,” he said.

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