The clean-up at the old Byford junkyard is on hold, pending further environmental testing from the state. But, the state still plans on hauling 20 thousand cubic yards of lead contaminated soil from the junkyard to a rock-pit a quarter of a mile from Pat’s Creek. The local tribe and city have spoken out against this proposed site, as it is near a fishing stream and recreation spot.

The Wrangell Cooperative Association provided a report to the state outlining potential environmental hazards of the project at the site. Biochemist Kendra Zamzow prepared the report. It suggests there could be phosphate leeching and other issues.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says it will address those concerns through additional testing in the next few weeks. But, state official Sally Schlichting says the rock-pit is still the best option. It is easy to access, does not require excessive permitting and has already been used as an industrial site in the past.

The state originally planned to start hauling the soil by April 1st. That’s been pushed back indefinitely. Assembly members asked Schlichting if there was a go/ no-go date, when the soil would be stuck at the junkyard. Schlichting said there is no cut-off date, but delays will make the project more time consuming and costly for the state.

The local tribe has not budged from its position to oppose the site.