U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Shungnak School Oil Discharge

Site Contact:
Bradley Martin


Site Location:
6 W. River Road
Shungnak, AK 99773
NRC#: 1280032

The Kobuk River lies directly southeast of the bluff where a 15,000-gallon diesel fuel spill occurred in 2020. The Kobuk River is the source of drinking water for Shungnak, and the drinking water collection gallery for the municipal water intake is located down gradient and downriver of the spill location. The village of Shungnak also relies on the Kobuk River for subsistence fishing. Site characterization efforts in 2020 and 2021 confirmed subsurface oil contamination downgradient from the spill location. Oil-contaminated soil has been excavated and stockpiled at the site but is not being managed in a manner that prevents oil migration from the stockpile toward the Kobuk River. In June 2023, oil just below ground surface was observed approximately 30 feet from the Kobuk River. Contamination at the top of the hillside appears to be approximately 10ft below ground surface and may also be commingled with a previously unreported historical spill that was discovered during 2020 assessment work. No cleanup actions have taken place at the site since the initial spill response removed approximately 350 cubic yards of oil contaminated soil and 250-500 gallons of pooled diesel fuel.      

Oil migration toward the Kobuk River is occurring via both surface and subsurface pathways. If contaminants reach the intake pipeline fill material, the intake fill could be a preferential pathway for contaminant migration to the Kobuk River Contaminants could also migrate along the surface permafrost and in suprapermafrost groundwater.

EPA completed an oil removal evaluation and discharge mitigation activities in October 2023.