Skagway, Alaska (KINY) Contamination caused by the ore terminal loader has created copper, lead and zinc concentrations in Skagway harbor that is impacting sea life.
A consultant, Golder Associates recommended they tackle the hot spots and dredge and remove the materials. They said a one in 50 year
storm event is needed to re-suspend these materials in the water.
The report found ammonia developed over time from the metals in the water. They also found waste water had an impact on the water
Blair McDonald said the samples of water taken had no concentrated levels of metals, "We were not able to find any relationship between how much the samples are causing affects to the various critters and the lead concentrations and the zinc concentrations or any of the metals that were associated with the ore concentrate."
He added there is some impact on certain fish, "I appreciate that there is accumulation in some types of shell fish. It is not every type of shell fish. The concentration range is quite large. It is not all individual samples of shell fish. Accumulation is occurring. it is pretty hard to argue against that. I do take comfort in the fact that there is a downward trend over time"
Borough Manager Scott Hahn said the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation could find that there should be no fishing within
1,600 meters of this contamination. He said he doubts if fishermen would appreciate these possible restrictions. "The biggest issue to me is public safety and the shrimp pots and crab pots. If I hung up a sign I would be hung, but I would do that if the Assembly tells me that is what they want done."
Assembly member Dan Henry said commercial fishing wiped out a lot of the shell fish catch this past season. "Commercials were in here in late fall, after their exit shrimping was negligible at best."