School district meets deadline to move fuel away from eroding Kuskokwim riverbank

This fuel tank farm now sits empty after rapid erosion forced the Lower Kuskokwim School District to transfer the fuel to new tanks behind the school in Napakiak, Aug. 30, 2019.

This fuel tank farm now sits empty after rapid erosion forced the Lower Kuskokwim School District to transfer the fuel to new tanks behind the school in Napakiak, Aug. 30, 2019. (Photo by Katie Basile/KYUK)

The Lower Kuskokwim School District met its deadline to transfer the fuel at the Napakiak school away from the eroding Kuskokwim riverbank.

Steve Walsh, co-owner of Faulkner Walsh Constructors, said his crew finished pumping the 36,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the new tanks Saturday afternoon. LKSD contracted the Bethel-based company for the project.

The Coast Guard had given LKSD two weeks to move the fuel away from the riverbank when the erosion reached 76 feet from the nearest fuel tank. The Coast Guard originally set the deadline for Aug. 30. The Coast Guard later granted the school district a 24-hour extension. Two Coast Guard officers remained on scene to oversee the project’s completion.

LKSD’s next project is to remove the Napakiak school’s old fuel tanks and barge them to Bethel, where they’ll be stored at the old Kilbuck school site. Walsh said that strong winds on Monday stalled that effort. The company might move the old tanks on Tuesday, depending on weather conditions.

Napakiak loses access to a main road as riverbank erosion persists

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