Aviation

NorthLink Aviation’s South Air Cargo Park project at Anchorage International draws concern from neighbors

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport could be expanding as NorthLink Aviation signed a 55-year lease for 120 acres to build a South Campus Air Cargo Terminal.

The proposed project would have 15 total paved areas to park air cargo planes, dual hydrant fueling systems and the ability to recycle glycol used to de-ice the plane, according to NorthLink.

“Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the 4th busiest air cargo airport in the world, but the airport’s facing an infrastructure crisis. There’s not enough places to park the freighters that come through the airport,” NorthLink CEO Sean Dolan said. “And we’re building the infrastructure to meet the needs of the airport today and in the future.”

Tiger Infrastructure and the Alaska Future Fund are financing the $100 million project, according to Dolan. The Alaska Future Fund is sponsored by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and managed by Barrings LLC.

Those who live nearby have raised concerns about the terminal’s impact on their drinking water. Linda Swiss lives in the Tanaina Hills neighborhood off Raspberry Road and has monitored the project for the past 18 months along with a group of other concerned residents.

“We want the impacts to be well understood,” Swiss said. “We want adequate oversight.”

Swiss added that she and 27 other homes use individual drinking wells and are concerned the project could put them at risk for Polyfluorinated Substances or PFAS. NorthLink is working through the Environmental Policy Act approval process and wrapped up public comment for the draft of its environmental assessment, last Saturday.

Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation left a comment during a review of the draft EA urging for an extension.

“DEC requests an extension of the review period to allow for site characterization and delineation of the groundwater PFAS contamination,” wrote DEC Div. of Spill Prevention and

Response Tiffany Larson. “Such that there’s a better understanding of the hydrogeology of the site and the potential risk to domestic water supply wells.”

The note from Larson also noted the contaminated sites near the proposed project area and wanted NorthLink to include the surrounding areas in their EA.

“We want to be a great neighbor,” Dolan said. “And we want to work on solutions that help meet people’s needs. That being said, I think it’s important to note that our project is not going to have any impact on groundwater.”

Swiss said they’ve met with Dolan and the developers of the project seven times, but still feel they aren’t being heard. She said they want the company to pay for the 28 homes on wells to connect to the city water so they aren’t at risk for PFAS contamination from the proposed project.

“You know, we find these disagreements about the direction of groundwater flow or you know, that there’ll be no spills, there’s spills with aircraft operations just in general,” Swiss said. “We just don’t feel like there are mitigating measures put in place that will definitively protect our drinking water wells.”

The Anchorage Airport declined to comment on this story and directed questions to NorthLink Aviation. The Federal Aviation Administration did not respond by the time of publishing this article.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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