Matanuska River Debris Site Assessment, Removal and, Report
Through the ACWA process, a section of the Matanuska River just north of Eagle Avenue in Palmer, Alaska was identified as water quality impaired due to an unregulated and unpermitted debris disposal area. Items in this disposal area include railroad cars, automobiles, appliances, abandoned drums, and other items. This disposal area lies within the drinking water protection area for three public water systems.
The first objective of the project was to assess, map, and determine the extent of debris as well as any potential pollutants in the main debris disposal area that could impact human health. All water, sediment and soil sampling followed a DEC approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
The second objective of the project was to develop a preliminary debris removal and disposal plan that addresses permits needed, cost estimates, site logistics, and site safety concerns.
All samples taken of bank soils, river sediments and river water showed no chemical contamination requiring clean-up. A site assessment with state and federal hydrologists determined that the lowest layer of the debris is serving as bank stabilization material and removal may cause more damage than leaving it in place. However, the debris piled on top should be removed to prevent possible sliding into the river. Recommendations also include fencing off the site for safety reasons and to prevent additional dumping at the site.