Client: Federal Aviation Administration
Location: Umnak, Caton, Hog Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Completion Year: 2019
Scope of Work:
- Removal Action
In 2019, Brice Environmental performed a release investigation, demolition, and remediation on three islands, mobilizing with a single barge in one judiciously choreographed field season at defunct Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA), now Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), radio range towers. The project involved remote and uninhabited sites on three Aleutian Islands— Hog, Umnak, and Caton Islands, Alaska. Long ago built to support World War II and the subsequent growth of commercial air travel across the region, the radio range facilities were eventually shut down. Yet the infrastructure remained in place, some of it repurposed and reused, and the remainder potentially contaminating the natural and historic environments of the now uninhabited Caton, Umnak, and Hog Islands. With funding in place, restoration of these once native lands was now possible.
Project delivery for one such remote island requires long-lead planning. Planning for three islands located as far apart as 221 nautical miles, in the same season using one barge significantly raised the bar. Consider that the Umnak CAA facilities alone, were built in partnership with a private contractor and the US Navy with thousands of troops deployed on Umnak. In contrast, the removal and remediation of these defunct CAA facilities today was completed by six deployed civilian contractor staff supported logistically by a barge, a man camp, all-terrain utility vehicles, and fat-tire bikes.
The risk was high and required close coordination with a multitude of stakeholders including the FAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Historic Preservation Office, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and local landowners. Proactive planning, innovative design, value engineering, and specialty barging services ensured an efficient and timely mobilization for this three-pronged FAA project. Once mobilized, the field team encountered difficult weather conditions, equipment issues, archaeological findings, unanticipated scope increases, and the need to build roads to facilitate site access. Brice overcame these challenges and completed the project on time, on budget, and with no safety incidents.