Prevention, Investigation and Monitoring
Pacific Region Environmental Contaminants

Refuge Cleanup

In 1991 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtained funding from congress as a result of the passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to begin cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks nationwide. As of December 2001, all underground storage tanks have been removed from national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries in the Pacific Region. Now all real estate transactions must conduct an Environmental Site Assessment. In 1991 the refuge cleanup program started to receive major funding from congress to carry out the mandates of other major environmental laws such the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Clean Water Act as amended by Superfund, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, and the Federal Facility Compliance Act. The Facility Compliance Act which set civil and criminal penalties for federal agencies and staff for not complying with environmental regulations dealing with hazardous substances has evolved into the Service Environmental Compliance Auditing Program which is managed by the Division of Engineering. Cleanup procedures are often initiated as a result of harmful situations identified through the investigation process. The first cleanup project to be initiated was the disposal of nerve gas and other hazardous materials at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Islands. There have been a total of 66 cleanup projects funded in the Pacific Region since the program began. Some contaminant issues identified in the audit process become so expensive to cleanup that additional funding from the Department of the Interior Hazardous Material Fund is needed. Cattle Dip Tank at Klamath Marsh NWROne such project is a cattle dip station at Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge which released high levels of toxaphene (DDT, DDE, Dieldrin) into the environment. The project required digging up and removing a large quantity of soil and restoring the site with clean soil. Refuge cleanup projects in 2002 include installation of monitoring wells to evaluate the cleanup of pentachlorophenol releases into groundwater from a wood treatment plant, cleanup of an oil spill at the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, monitoring a base closure and cleanup of dioxin contaminated marine sediments at Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, completing an environmental site assessment at the Alviso Cannery on Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge that will allow for disposal of the cannery in exchange for wildlife habitat, monitoring the effectiveness of changes in water delivery through the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge (formerly Kesterson) to determine if salinity and boron levels will meet California water quality standards, providing coordination and recommendations to the US Navy for the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge and base Installation Restoration Program, and characterizing potential hazardous materials in a landfill at Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge.

Tern Island, Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge Cleanup Project

Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge Contaminated Soil Cleanup Project



Last updated: May 27, 2008

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