The fuel tank upgrade project at Manchester will consist of closing and removing the original underground fuel storage tanks and constructing six new above-ground tanks over three phases (shown in this illustration). (U.S. Navy illustration)

The fuel tank upgrade project at Manchester will consist of closing and removing the original underground fuel storage tanks and constructing six new above-ground tanks over three phases (shown in this illustration). (U.S. Navy illustration)

Long-awaited modernization project at Manchester Fuel Depot finally started

Work on nearly $200 million project to take nine years to complete

PORT ORCHARD — A project to upgrade the fuel tank storage capability at the Manchester Fuel Depot facility was officially kicked off last Friday with speeches by Navy officials and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) at the venerable facility.

According to the Navy, the fuel tank upgrade project will consist of closing and removing the original underground fuel storage tanks and constructing six new above-ground tanks over three phases. Each of the six tanks will be able to contain an estimated 5.245 million gallons of JP-5 carrier jet fuel or F-76 marine diesel fuel in 64-foot-tall, 140-foot-wide tanks constructed of welded steel columns with supported fixed cone roofs. It is expected to take approximately nine years to complete the project, estimated to cost the Department of Defense nearly $200 million.

Managed by the Navy’s Fleet Logistics Center Puget Sound Fuel Department and part of Naval Base Kitsap, the fuel depot’s mission is to provide customers with top-quality military specification fuel, lubricants and additives used by the nation’s military. It provides fuels support for U.S. and allied forces throughout the Puget Sound region and the Pacific Rim.

Kilmer said the fuel depot project is “progress.” In a speech to a small gathering of onlookers prior to a groundbreaking ceremony, the congressman said, “It’s progress because we’ll be replacing some infrastructure that is 79 years old dating back to World War II, which is quite amazing when you think about it. Some of these tanks have been on this earth two years long than Mick Jaggar.

“I confess I chose Mick Jaggar because I was listening to the [Rolling] Stones song ‘Petrol Blues’ while writing this — which seemed fitting.”

Kilmer said the project is a “win” for taxpayers because it is a smart investment.

“Rather than having 79-year-old tanks that have to be inspected, cleaned and repaired once every 10 years at a cost of $2 million to $3 million per tank, we will be making a smart investment that pencils better for taxpayers.”

He said it’s also beneficial for the environment since the above-ground storage facility will minimize risk and reduce the likelihood of an incident due to new safety monitoring technology.

After the ceremony, Kilmer said he couldn’t remember when he was first briefed on the project.

“I think it was when I first got into office,” he said. “That first long-term plan I heard about is starting today.”

A small group of onlookers, including Port Orchard Mayor Rob Putaansuu (in foreground), listen to Navy officials laud the start of the fuel tank storage modernization project at the Manchester Fuel Depot last Friday. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)

A small group of onlookers, including Port Orchard Mayor Rob Putaansuu (in foreground), listen to Navy officials laud the start of the fuel tank storage modernization project at the Manchester Fuel Depot last Friday. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)

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A small group of onlookers, including Port Orchard Mayor Rob Putaansuu (in foreground), listen to Navy officials laud the start of the fuel tank storage modernization project at the Manchester Fuel Depot last Friday. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)

Navy officials and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer turn over shovels of dirt to signify the official start of the project to modernize the Manchester Fuel Depot’s fuel storage capability. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)

Navy officials and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer turn over shovels of dirt to signify the official start of the project to modernize the Manchester Fuel Depot’s fuel storage capability. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)

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