Sand Lake area residents still concerned about proposed new airport terminal

Sand Lake area residents still concerned about proposed new airport hangar
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:33 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There are several factors that are making the Sand Lake community concerned about the expansion at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

“How much more air pollution ... will I be breathing when your project is complete?” asked one meeting attendee.

It was just one of many questions that were raised Monday night at the Sand Lake Community Council meeting. The meeting was centered around the proposed construction of an airport expansion project that will see a new terminal built by NorthLink Aviation, one that will take up 120 acres along the South Campus Air Cargo Terminal.

Some people were more concerned about other aspects of moving operations closer to a neighborhood off Raspberry Road.

“Increasing noise from the airport ... this is going to make it much worse,” one community member said.

“All the increased light pollution that’s going to come from your 45 or 55-foot lights that are going to go right over your earth berm into the houses right across the street,” said another community member.

Northlink Aviation CEO Sean Dolan helped to assuage some fears at the meeting that chemical compounds could be leaked from the construction process into the adjacent neighborhoods, highlighting the importance of the terminal to the airport.

“This is a facility that is much-needed at the airport to provide crucial infrastructure for the air cargo sector,” Dolan told the room. “None of the samples had detections for the two ADEC-regulated PFOA, PFOS compounds.”

Dolan said the construction area was tested by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for several chemical compounds, known as polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances, but the tests resulted in no PFAS being discovered. According to the company, when present, the chemicals can pose health risks to humans. He said there are further studies being conducted to learn more about the local environment around the airport.

“So doing this work — doing it thoughtfully, carefully and based on science with rigorous, rigorous analysis is how we want to approach this project,” Dolan said.

After much public feedback, Craig Campbell, interim airport manager at Ted Stevens, pointed out that the facility is the fourth-busiest cargo airport in the world, noting to meeting members that it will continue to grow.

“Our mission is to try to accommodate that in the best possible way to serve the airport, the economy of Alaska, and our neighbors,” Campbell said.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect the project’s construction of a new terminal, not a hangar as previously reported.