2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 12 Feb 2003 16:26:20 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Midway fuel spill contained on island
Midway fuel spill contained on island
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

An unnoticed pipeline leak dumped nearly 100,000 gallons of jet fuel
into the coral soils of Midway Atoll's Sand Island last week.

A cleanup was launched Friday after a site visit by officials from the
Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, GeoEngineers and Pacific
Environmental Corp. Most of the fuel remained underground and only one
seabird, a Laysan albatross chick, was contaminated. The bird was
cleaned and appeared to be recovering, the Fish and Wildlife Service

The spill is the largest in recent history in the Hawaiian archipelago 
more than double the volume of the 1996 Chevron pipeline spill that
dumped thousands of gallons of oil into Pearl Harbor. A preliminary
estimate is that the Midway spill amounts to between 75,000 and 100,000
gallons, but engineers will be trying to refine that figure as they
study records of the fuel storage plant.

Midway Atoll, a national wildlife refuge, has been closed to the public
since early last year, and has been operated by contractors GeoEngineers
and American Airports while the Fish and Wildlife Service works on plans
to reopen it to the public.

Engineers last week noticed that fuel levels were dropping in a tank of
JP-5 fuel, which is used both to refuel aircraft and to run the island's
generators. They traced the leak to an underground fitting on a
pipeline, which had once been used to collect fuel samples. The iron
fitting had an aluminum cap, which corroded and gave way.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said the jet fuel appeared to be mixing
with a previously undiscovered underground spill of a thick, black oil.
It was not identified during the Navy's hazardous materials assessment
and cleanup of the island before the Navy turned Midway over to the Fish
and Wildlife Service in 1996, said Barbara Maxfield, the Fish and
Wildlife Service.

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