144th FW continues fuel storage construction project

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rebecca Perez
  • 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Upon entering the Fresno Air National Guard Base, base personnel are greeted with an ongoing construction project of the base’s fuel storage system.

Approved by the Defense Logistics Agency, this $20 million project will remove the underground fuel storage system and replace them with above-ground storage containers. The expected completion date is October 2022.

This project complies with California state law, which requires the entirety of underground fuel storage tanks within the state be removed by 2023.

“Our six underground single-wall tanks with storage capabilities of 160,000 gallons have been removed,’ said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Flaherty, 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant superintendent. “Once complete, there will be two above-ground tanks with storage capabilities of 210,000 gallons, pump houses, a pipeline and loading stations.”

Since the project’s initiation in October 2020, the POL shop, also referred to as Fuels, has had to overcome various challenges. In an effort to keep this project as cost-effective as possible all construction occurred as one large project, leaving the POL shop without fuel and fuel storage.

The solution to this challenge was two-fold. First, the base entered a contract with a civilian fuel company based at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to store the base’s jet fuel. However, the jet fuel used by civilian aircraft use does not contain special additives required by the U.S. Air Force. These additives include an icing inhibitor, a corrosion inhibitor and a static dissipation additive.

The next part to the solution was to set up a contract with a refinery in Long Beach, Calif., to supply the base with fuel already containing the necessary additives. This pre-blended fuel alleviated the need for Fuels personnel to mix the additives in the refueling trucks by hand and greatly reduced the time needed to return the trucks to the line for the next mission.

This project also requires the hands-on assistance from various shops including the Civil Engineering Squadron, Security Forces Squadron, the Environmental Office, and the Fire Department. CES needs to be aware of any structural change happening on base. SF Airmen monitor all civilian contractors coming onto base. The Environmental office needs managers to be present in the event that there are spills, and to ensure local environmental laws are followed during the construction of the new system. The Fire Department will oversee the installation of a fire suppression system for the two above-ground tanks.

While this $20 million project is a feat, it is necessary and mission essential to all units on base. It’s as SMSgt Flaherty said, "[There's] no squadron we don’t touch."