State issues permit for Nikiski oil-waste site

The State of Alaska last week approved a permit to allow a Texas-based waste disposal company to store up to 10 million gallons of petroleum drilling waste at a 1.5-acre site in Nikiski’s industrial area.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation permit allows AIMM Technologies Inc. to construct and operate a monofill storage site for drilling waste, produced by the nearby oil and gas industry, at the end of Halliburton Drive.

The issuance comes nearly 15 months after AIMM applied for the permit. The public process included advertisements in newspapers and an AIMM sponsored public meeting in July 2012, which saw an estimated 150 people attend.

The state did not hold a public hearing on the proposed monofill site, citing an “adequate” public comment period. Of the 229 written comments sent to the ADEC, 182 were a form letter.

AIMM plans to build a series of engineered and lined “disposal cells” that will hold a total 10.2 million gallons of waste and be filled over eight years, though the permit is only good for five years.

One waste cell is to be built and filled at a time. Each subsequent cell would be built as the prior one nears capacity.

According to AIMM’s plan, much of the drilling waste would be “dewatered” and that contaminated water trucked off to another disposal site in the Anchorage Bowl.

The final permit includes a series of specific and general conditions under which AIMM is expected to operate the site, such as the prohibition of dumping medical waste, asbestos, municipal solid waste, PCBs and radioactive waste.

According the ADEC, AIMM posted a $589,858 dollar bond prior to permit approval. Previously, ADEC estimated site abandonment, once filled, would cost the state $1.5 million to assume control and monitor the site.

Some in the community fear the site will either join or affect a neighboring tract known as the Arness Septage site, which has a past history of seeping petro chemical contamination. An additional groundwater-monitoring well was installed at the site last month, according to DEC’s contaminated sites database.

Nate Emory, ADEC environmental program specialist, previously noted that the state is not in the business of land use decision-making. AIMM chose the location, he said.

“AIMM chose the Kenai Borough, which is zoned mostly rural, has very little in the way of zoning restriction governance,” Emory said, “Our participation is objective and follows state law.”

As part of the permitting process, AIMM installed six groundwater-monitoring wells around the monofill site to satisfy the requirements of the Solid Waste Program’s permit application, according to ADEC.

A primary concern among residents in the area is drinking water contamination from a leaking storage cell, if the liner fails.

According to the state, AIMM’s drilling waste cannot be stored within 500 feet of any drinking water well. The storage cells are expected to be 23 feet above the groundwater aquifer. Leakage, if there is any, is expected to flow away from local drinking water sources.

“In the unlikely event of a release from the AIMM monofill, the groundwater hydrology shows that any contamination reaching the aquifer would travel to the southwest,” wrote the state.

The state expects that nothing liquid or solid will escape the lined storage facility, which is to be monitored by AIMM for 10 years, or longer, once full.

Previously, some oilfield waste handled by AIMM in Kenai was processed then dumped into the Kenai Peninsula Borough landfill. The AIMM monofill proposal sought to end the complicated nature of using the borough landfill.

Greg Skinner is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion He can be reached at

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read