U.S. Coast Guard Inspecting Napakiak School Fuel Tanks Dangerously Close To River

Aug 14, 2019

People ride on a four wheeler in front of the Napakiak school fuel tanks, which sit less than 50 feet from the Kuskokwim River following accelerating erosion. Pictured here on August 8, 2019.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

School starts on Wednesday in Napakiak, and the Kuskokwim River is flowing less than 50 feet from the school's fuel tanks.

The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reports that the U.S. Coast Guard is sending a facilities investigator and pollution inspector to the community this week to investigate the situation. The crew planned to arrive on Tuesday, but weather delays have pushed the trip to Thursday of this week. The U.S. Coast Guard did not respond to a request for more information by the time this story was published.

Napakiak held a community meeting last week to begin considering options for retreating from the approaching Kuskokwim River and possibly relocating entirely. A Lower Kuskokwim School District representative attended the meeting and assured the community that LKSD would not allow the fuel tanks to fall into the water. He also said that two more storms similar to the one seen in early August could push the river to the tanks.