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Sitka Sound Science Center Discharge

Site Contact:
Robert Whittier


Site Location:
834 Lincoln Street
Sitka, AK 99835
NRC#: 1322476

Overview:  On the morning of November 18th, a dark viscous oil product was discovered during dewatering of the hatchery penstocks at the Sitka Sound Science Center in Sitka, Alaska. The oil was seeping from the cracked concrete wall under the Science Center building and into the well vault which is tidally influenced by the Sound and fed from Indian River which feeds the hatchery penstocks via a 70-year-old wooden stave. Indian River had been diverted as part of the scheduled maintenance at the Science Center prior to the spill and due to the maintenance and season, no fish are currently present at the hatchery.

State, Local and other Federal Agency Actions:  The spill is in USCG jurisdiction and USCG Marine Safety Detachment Sitka, as well as Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation staff have responded. Containment and sorbet boom were deployed by USCG contractor. The source is unknown but appears to be coming from an upland location.  

EPA Actions:  On November 22nd, the USCG requested EPA assistance in investigating the source of the spill. A Pollution Removal Funding Authorization was used to fund the investigation. EPA mobilized 2 OSCs and the START contractor to support the work. USCG is and remains the Federal On- Scene Coordinator for this incident. The objectives of EPA’s work include identification of the source, nature and extent of contamination, and to assist the USCG in determining cleanup options.