Photo: The Napakiak School fuel storage facility sits 76 feet from the riverbank’s erosion point, along the Kuskokwim River. U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Coast Guard issued Administrative Order to the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), Friday, to remove all fuel oils from the Napakiak School fuel storage facility by Aug. 30.
The fuel storage facility contains an estimated 36,000 gallons of home heating oil threatening the Kuskokwim River.
Coast Guard officials received a report Aug. 12 that a fuel storage facility owned by LKSD was within 150 feet of the Kuskokwim River and at risk of riverbank erosion.
Coast Guard Sector Anchorage opened the Oil Spill Trust and Liability Fund, Aug. 12, for $10,000 and deployed personnel to conduct an on-scene investigation. Measurements conducted by Sector pollution investigators determined the closest point of the fuel storage facility as 76 feet from the riverbank’s erosion point.
“The Coast Guard is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and in this case that means we’re taking preventative steps to mitigate the potential for pollution,” said Lt. James Nunez, incident management division, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.
The oil products remaining in the fuel storage facility pose an environmental hazard. The Federal On-Scene Coordinator has the authority to issue an administrative order if the threat of discharge presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare of the U.S.
Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the responsible party is liable for, among other things, removal costs and damages resulting from this condition. The failure or refusal to comply with this Administrative Order will eliminate any defense or entitlement to limited liability, which might otherwise be available under the Act (33 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2762).