Sinkhole pops up at Ft. Wainwright

A sinkhole has opened up on Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks.

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Public affairs officer Mel Slater said the 3-foot diameter void discovered Monday near a housing unit, is suspected to be the result of thawing permafrost.

”When they inspected the sinkhole, what they found was some wood debris, some metal debris and a partially crushed metal drum,” Slater said.

Slater said the sink hole has been cordoned off, and post officials are cautioning people to stay away from it until the revealed materials can be checked for toxins. Slater said the area has no known history of waste disposal.

”[The] current word that we have right now, there was no evidence of dumping or anything like that,” Slater said.

Ft. Wainwright is already home to 6 sites managed under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund contaminated sites program.

The most recently identified site is the Taku Gardens Housing Complex. In 2003, contaminants were unearthed at the 54-acre former Army communications site. It resulted in remediation that addressed soils contaminated with PCBs, petroleum, pesticides and other chemicals, as well as munitions.