Army seeks information to fill 'data gaps' for cleanups at Gerstle River Test Site

The Department of Environmental Conservation said on Monday that it is looking for any information regarding cleanups at the Gerstle River Test Site in Alaska before or after its closure in the early 1970's.

The 20,500-acre site was created in the 1950s, and used to test how high explosives and chemical- and biological-warfare agents would react in the Arctic, KUAC reports.

Army officials are not sure how many cleanup operations have been completed and when, or if they know all there is to know about the test site. The Army is soliciting information to fill "data gaps."

"They've hired a contractor that's going back and looking through all the different reports that we have on the test site, to kind of get a picture of what do we know today about the history, the use and the disposal of chemical weapons and other components on that property," DEC environmental program specialist Guy Warren said, according to KUAC.

Brian Adams, the project manager with Fort Wainwright's environmental office, said the Army is forming an advisory committee for the site. The group is looking for 20 people to be on the committee, and is especially interested in recruiting residents from the surrounding area, KUAC reports.

Adams said access to the site is open, and the area is frequently used for moose hunting and as a training site for Fort Wainwright soldiers.