- Company: Nova Group, Inc. / Underground Construction Co.
- Industry: Oil and Gas
- Location: San Diego, California
- Expected Completion Date: September 15, 2014
- Project Website
This $183 Million multi-year project required the construction of a new fuel storage facility to replace the current aging bulk fuel storage tanks and support facilities at the DFSP (Defense Fuel Support Point), Naval Base Point Loma, which is the United States Navy’s largest fuel storage and distribution facility on the West Coast. The work consisted of the construction of eight 125,000-barrel multi-product fuel storage tanks (aboveground steel fuel storage tanks), fuel distribution piping, pump house, fuel oil reclamation (FOR) facilities including 10,000 barrel and 25,000 barrel aboveground storage tanks, and a lube oil storage and dispensing system. Additional supporting fuel facility work included fuel tanker truck loading and unloading stations, fuel icing inhibitor injection system, and a pier-side 4,000-square-foot control building. The challenge of the project was building a facility that would hold and dispense over one million barrels of fuel, while at the same time keeping the original facility operable until it was ultimately demolished.
The 40 million gallons of fuel storage created by the construction of this project is critical for the Navy’s operations to maintain U.S. west coast and Pacific defenses, ultimately keeping Americans safe. Our national security depends on our defense installations and facilities being strategically located with reliable systems and sufficient capacities to protect our national resources. Those resources have never been more important as America fights terrorists who plan to carry-out attacks on our facilities and our people.
What impact does this project have on America?
DFSP Point Loma is a mission-critical facility. As the US Navy’s largest fuel storage and distribution facility on the west coast and the only defense fuel facility in the Southern California region, its continuous and uninterrupted operation is paramount. This facility annually provides Navy fleet assets and airfields with $500 million worth of fuel, equating to nearly 8 million barrels (335 million gallons), making it the largest single fuel handling facility in the Navy inventory.
This unique project required the 100% destruction of existing outdated facilities and the construction of a new state-of-the-art million-barrel fuel storage/receipt/dispensing facility, Continued, uninterrupted fueling operations (24 hours, seven days a week) were required throughout the 5-year duration of this project. Nova creatively scheduled and phased the equipment, piping, utility and tank installation to maintain fueling capabilities and system functionality, critical to maintaining west coast Navy operations.
The major challenge of the project was to have an operational fuel facility that issues several hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel a day co-exist and operate effectively with a large construction project in the same footprint. However, through pre-planning and constant communication with the end user, all went flawlessly. To achieve both construction operations and system functionality, Nova provided a temporary by-pass fuel line around the new project area from the existing underground storage tank farm, which was routed to the existing pumphouse. This temporary fuel line configuration maintained full fueling capabilities while allowing the removal of the existing outdated, aboveground fuel storage tanks. The existing aboveground fuel storage tanks provided temporary fueling and offloading capabilities for Naval ships that dock at Pt. Loma and served as the receiving location for a multi-mile fuel supply line from Miramar. The temporary line remained in service throughout construction of the new fuel facility.
Historically, industrial fuel facilities have not been constructed using green building practices that address sustainability issues. The United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications of any level have not been considered or achieved in this market. With a forward-thinking mindset and creative strategies, this new fuel storage facility was originally designed for the basic LEED certification. Ultimately, however, the project team exceeded the original LEED plan goals and achieved a LEED Silver certification. This additional level of success was a combination of achieving points in the strict rating system from the design decisions through the construction choices. Key factors unique to this commercial industrial facility that enabled it to earn this high rating include:
(1) The color white was selected for the ten above-ground fuel storage tanks, including the roof system and the unique liner color. This choice was made to reflect sunlight, reduce energy use, and prevent “urban heat island effect.”
(2) The tracking and recording of the construction waste stream diversion from landfills, which accounted for over 95% of the site waste. This project reused or recycled 523,000 tons of material, primarily steel and concrete from the demolished tanks. This continuing effort ensured the successful tracking of all debris in conjunction with maximum recycling efforts.
(3) The project site was a brown field redevelopment site that included several old fuel tanks that had been leaking for years prior to our commencement of this project. The extensive leaking caused significant soil contamination in the area requiring extra efforts to redevelop on the site.
(4) The project incorporated green construction material, and over 90% of occupied areas were designed to incorporate daylight instead of solely relying on powered light sources in the work spaces.
This project was the first fuel facility in the United States to achieve any LEED certification.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
As briefly mentioned above, a unique and challenging feature of our project was the site cleanup of fuel contaminated soils and other hazardous waste streams throughout the project site. The project was conducted as Brownfields Cleanup with our partners the US Navy, the State of California, and the City and County of San Diego. The project was designed and constructed to re-use as much recycled material as possible on-site and to have over 95 percent diverted from landfills. All demolished concrete, shotcrete, and asphalt was crushed on-site and reused for road base and other fill. These recycling efforts eliminated an estimated 4,000 additional truck loads from traveling off the base and down Rosecrans Street. The Navy now has a state-of-the-art fueling facility to support the fleet and other federal interests, and has removed thousands of tons of fuel-impacted soils and hazardous substances from the environment.
The project costs were estimated and prepared in 2008, at the start of the recession when labor resources and material prices were volatile. This project was constructed under a firm-fixed price contract that did not have price escalation allowances or adjustments for material or other resource cost fluctuations. Nonetheless, the management team maintained excellent cost control and completed the project within budget.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
The project site for the fuel facility, which is located within Naval Base Point Loma, has a footprint of over 200 acres. Located within the confines of the site were soils contaminated with hydrocarbons (MOGAS, DFM, Navy Special Fuels, JP5) from previous storage tank leaks, asbestos in pre-war buildings, lead in soils and structure paints, and other classified hazardous wastes. The goal of this project was not only the reconstruction and transformation of an obsolete facility into a state-of-the-art fuel storage facility, but also an extensive and potentially hazardous environmental site cleanup. Because of the complexity and size of the project, the project had to be properly staffed to assure that the schedule was being maintained, issues were being handled in a timely manner, attention to safety was at its highest, and the end user was getting a safe, quality project delivered on time.
To accomplish this task, we put in place a field management staff, which at the peak of construction included over 20 full-time employees, to manage production, safety, and quality. This included a highly qualified production staff of two project managers, three superintendents, project engineers, a full time scheduler, a safety staff of two site safety and health officers, and a quality control staff up to 5 full-time employees totaling hundreds of years of experience in the construction industry. From an environmental and safety standpoint, protecting our workers from the exposure to asbestos, lead-based paint, petroleum contaminated soil and water, and other dangerous products also required the full time efforts of a dedicated environmental firm and a specialty demolition subcontractor, in addition to our own staff of professionals.
Despite all the complexities, the project was recognized by the Navy with a STAR Safety award for its outstanding safety record. The project had over 1,200 days (over 590,000 man-hours) without a single lost-time accident. To work on a project of this size and complexity and be able to say that everyone who worked on this project was able to go home safely to their families every night is a true testament to a successful project.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
To treat the contaminated soils, the project implemented a unique process known as Low-Temperature Thermal Desorption, or LTTD. The engineer estimated over 52,000 tons of hydrocarbon contaminated soils on site. This significant quantity provided a challenge, as off-haul and disposal was cost prohibitive, and disruptive to the neighborhood. Low Temperature Thermal Desorption is the process of cooking soils to 700 degrees F in a rotary kiln to burn off the hydrocarbons. Dust was removed as the waste stream gases were sent through a bag house, and finally the resultant volatiles were removed at temperatures as high as 1,400 degrees F. The soil was then tested, classified as clean, and designed into the project to be used as backfill for filling in the closed in-place underground storage tanks (USTs). With significant effort of our onsite Environmental Consultants, Richard Brady & Associates, the project was able to get permitted through the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, the first LTTD permit in San Diego County in over 20 years. The use of this unique method helped eliminate 4,000 truckloads of material having to be exported through the residential neighborhood to a class II landfill.
A new piece of equipment we used throughout the project was the Vacuworx Pipe Handling System. This innovative handling system offers a versatile material handling solution for the loading, unloading, and precision staging of virtually all sizes and types of pipe, concrete, steel, plastic, fiberglass, and cast-iron. The systems are used to handle pipe without endangering personnel in close quarters for work involving: in-plant operations, fitting concrete, steel and cast-iron pipe together in a ditch, and moving heavy construction materials into staging areas requiring lifts of 6,600 to 44,000 pounds, and accommodate pipe lifting for the various weight and dimension requirements.
All project civil dirt work, concrete slab and foundations, steel tank erection, fuel and electrical pipe installation were precisely placed with state-of-the-art Global Positioning System (GPS). A GPS receiver can determine its precise distance from each satellite by measuring the travel time of the signals transmitted by the satellites. Latitude and longitude can be calculated by locking on to and measuring (triangulating) the signals of three satellites. If a fourth satellite is available, altitude can also be calculated. We utilized two types of GPS tracking devices: active (real-time tracking) GPS tracking devices and passive (memory/historical tracking) GPS tracking devices. Active GPS tracking systems inform where the target is at the exact moment on a real-time basis. Passive GPS tracking devices inform where the target has been and require a physical download into a computer to view the data. Both systems were used to ensure quality and safety from the outset with minimum rework and downtime for the project and our workers.