Petroleum cleanup guidelines update eyed by state regulators
Alaska officials are working to revise decades-old protocols to be used in the event of petroleum-based spills.
The state's Department of Environmental Conservation met in november to discuss an overhaul of the agency's regulations for cleaning up petroleum spills, KTOO-FM reported.
The department is taking public comments on the issue until mid-january.
Sally Schlichting, who handles policy and regulation for contaminated sites for the DEC, said the update is long overdue. The last time petroleum guidelines were updated was in 1999.
Schlichting said her department wants to update the cleanup levels to reflect additional current science on the toxicity of petroleum.
"For example, in our groundwater, our cleanup levels, in the past, had not accounted for the risks to kids from consuming and being in contact with that groundwater that is contaminated," Schlichting said.
It's not clear what the new regulations can look like, however Schlichting said it's likely that the cleanup levels for a few things, like diesel and gasoline, can probably become additional stringent.
At least one palmer resident said he plans to comment. Ralph Hulbert said within the past he is clashed with state regulators as a result of their complicated calculations needed for petroleum cleanup in soil and groundwater don't factor in what it takes to respond to a spill.
"They don't prefer to consider the risks of these responses and what you have to do to clean it up," Hulbert said.
Hulbert said a number of the cleanup methods cause risks that are worse than what a spill might ever have caused. He said he additionally doesn't think the state will enough to ensure that cleanup prices are reasonable for homeowners and companies responsible for them.