- Company: Conti
- Industry: Oil and Gas
- Location: Newark, New Jersey
- Expected Completion Date: September 2017
Conti’s Aviation Fuel Systems project supports the expansion of a new terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ and involves modifications to the aviation fueling system infrastructure to maintain a state of good repair, comply with current environmental regulations and optimize operations.
At one of the world’s largest and most heavily trafficked airports, Newark Airport’s existing fuel system was constructed in 1970 and needed repairs and upgrades to meet industry standards requiring centralized purchasing of Jet-A fuel for all airlines, which simplifies multi-pump fuel supply systems and piping networks. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) called for upgrades to the existing system to meet these regulations with the intention of allowing it to function more efficiently.
Conti is responsible for the $67M Phase I of a three-phase multi-year fuel system modification program, currently over 80% complete. The work includes decommissioning the old single-wall welded steel pipe and installing approximately 29,000 linear feet of buried, double-wall carbon steel pipe ranging in size from 12-inch to 22-inch diameter for the aviation fuel main line, in compliance with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) standards.
Previously, aircraft fuel was purchased for and by individual airlines. Conti’s new fuel system facilitates the usage of standardized Jet-A fuel at Newark Airport for all aircraft. The piping includes sensors for fuel leak detection and runs from the South Fuel Farm to the new Fuel Serving Area and reconnecting to the Central Terminal Area. The pipeline routing will benefit a new Terminal A, which is in the planning phase.
Conti constructed a two-position truck fill station loading rack airside next to the new Contact Water Treatment Facility (CWTF). This location was strategically selected as it allows for faster fueling and will result in less truck traffic. The new CWTF consists of three holding tanks, one reclaim tank and an oil water separator.
Conti also made modifications to various components of the fueling system including valves, pumps and electrical controls. These changes reduce both maintenance and electrical costs. Conti’s resultant new, simplified fuel system has fewer pipes, pumps, valves and controls which reduces operational complexity while allowing greater flexibility among existing fuel storage tanks.
The upgraded system components reduce the amount of inspection and maintenance necessary in the future, unlike those previously which required routine maintenance and repair. The simplification of the system components along with the system modernization increases its environmental efficiency and decreases the risk of fuel leaks.
While this ongoing project has seen multiple challenges, Conti has maintained the project schedule and redesigned various project components to avoid halting operations and causing costly delays, or impacting routine airport functions.
Conti’s improvements within the antiquated fuel farm have updated the existing leak detection system, tank level gauging and also allowed for more efficient storage and discharge of fuel. Under the previous system, each of the four pump stations could only draw from their respective six-pack of tanks. Through the improvements implemented by Conti, each pump station now has the flexibility to draw from twelve tanks thereby decreasing the amount of downtime associated with future tank maintenance or outage.
What impact does this project have on America?
This project, located at one of the most largely used airports in the world, is part of the $1B Terminal A upgrade program at Newark Airport to bring it up to current standards. This project particularly supplies jet fuel to aircraft that allow both US citizens and foreign visitors to travel domestically and globally. Conti’s project upgrades help enhance Newark Airport’s functionality and overall level of service.
The upgrade of Newark Airport’s Terminal A is of critical importance to both domestic and worldwide travel. Terminal A enables flights from several major airlines including American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, United Express as well as other major commercial carriers like FedEx and UPS. Safely fueling these planes for their voyages is critical for business and recreational travel to and from the New York City metropolitan area, and for passenger and worker safety at the airport facility. Conti’s project is the gateway to the remainder of the program’s intended improvements to modernize that last of the airport’s three terminals and enhance travel for all Newark Airport passengers.
The purpose of Conti’s Aviation Fuel System project is to modify and upgrade the existing aviation fueling system to meet current state regulatory standards and to operate in a more efficient and environmentally conscious manner. This project provides multiple benefits including increased system functionality, reduced trucking emissions by eliminating truck traffic around the airport and reduced risk of dangerous piping leaks and soil contamination. This benefits both users of this airport as well as American soils and air quality.
Conti hires locally, increasing the area’s economy and uses local vendors and subcontractors for supplies and services.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
While this project involved several unique circumstances, the greatest obstacle was the installation of the new fueling system components without impacting operations at a major, active airport.
Working around live aircraft required non-stop communication with the PANYNJ, Airside Traffic Operations and the existing fuel farm servicing operator, Allied Aviation. It is imperative that Conti’s ongoing work does not impact airfield operations, and the team is not permitted to close taxiways. It is very expensive to re-organize aircraft movements and parking schedules so Conti’s proposed schedule dates, communicated to Airside Traffic Operations, could not be missed. It was also of utmost priority to avoid disrupting service to the existing fuel lines while working on the construction and commissioning of new ones.
Conti frequently restaged portions of the project phases with the PANYNJ and other stakeholders to keep the project on track without costly delays or interruptions to Newark Airport’s many operations and services.
Conti has avoided disruptions and schedule slips through constant communication and frequent meetings to manage expectations throughout project progression. The team received special approval to access multiple airside locations simultaneously in an effort to expedite the airside construction activities without incurring airline delays. For example, through detailed scheduling and communication, Traffic Operations allowed Conti to begin Phase 6 at the existing Fuel Selection Area while still proceeding with fuel line installations in Phase 5 of the Hardstand. By doing so, Conti saved approximately four months of schedule duration.
An additional challenge involved the strict and constantly evolving security requirements in place by the PANYNJ to work onsite at Newark Airport. Following a personal background check, all site personnel are required to be enrolled in the Secure Worker Access Consortium (SWAC) program to work onsite. Further, through evolving security requirements at the airport, employee names are required for submission to the Port Authority and are vetted against the No-Fly list coupled with a full vehicle inspection by a mirror guard prior to each airside entry.
Each time Conti occupies an area airside (including taxiways, hardstands and airline gates), they are given a specific timeline for completion. To date, Conti has never missed a date set forth for a specific phase of the project.
Other obstacles that materialized during this project included utility discoveries in unexpected locations that interrupted the fuel line route as originally designed. Conti proposed multiple re-design options to the PANYNJ to facilitate decision making quickly to keep production continuing and avoid costly delays.
A final challenge involved crossing Earhart Drive with in-ground fuel lines, where traffic was required to be maintained at all times. The project design called for a full detour of Earhart Drive sending traffic out and around the airport. Conti redesigned the MPT plans to implement a daily single lane closure to more efficiently facilitate the work, while also building a tunnel under the road to install the pipe.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
The dangerous nature of this project is due to working “airside” along active runways and taxiways at an airport where flights take off every 2 minutes.
Conti employees and subcontractors must be escorted by Traffic Operations at all times while accessing airside areas. Employees must also be aware of the aircraft movements due to the jet blast from the rear of the planes while traveling into and out of the gate. While traveling airside, Conti employees must constantly yield to and be aware of baggage carts, food service trucks, fuel tanks, hydrant carts and airline vendors.
The most complex part of the project is working through Newark Airport’s complex, antiquated fuel distribution system. Because of this complexity, Conti has facilitated countless meetings and work sessions with the Port Authority as well as Allied Aviation to facilitate our work as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.
Additionally, Conti encountered a myriad of existing utilities throughout the airport which were not accurately as-built. This made for particular dangers when excavating and driving shoring plates and piles. Through the studying of outdated as-builts as well as high tech tracing equipment, Conti mitigated the risks associated with unmarked utilities.
The fuel lines are installed to depths ranging from 6-feet to 22-feet deep. As a result, Conti designed a detailed pile and plate shoring system for employees to work safely and efficiently in excavations up to 50-feet wide and 450-feet in length.
Finally, all soils encountered at the airport have been considered contaminated. Conti properly manifested and disposed of all surplus soil offsite at a licensed disposal facility.
Conti recently achieved a major safety milestone on this project. The Conti Field Office Management Team and local unions celebrated over 120,000 man hours worked without a recordable incident on this highly active jobsite.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
Conti uses new technologies on this project, such as GPS survey on our equipment. Through the acquisition of a new excavator (PC 490) and MKT vibratory hammer, Conti was able to drive the piles and plates per our designed shoring system. Additionally, a vacuworks piece of equipment attached to an excavator allows an operator to safely pick and move 42-foot sections of double wall steel pipe through vacuum technology.
To reduce waste, all demolished concrete and steel are brought to licensed recycling facilities for reuse. Additionally, recycled concrete aggregated (RCA) is utilized as a subbase throughout the project. Conti’s equipment is retrofitted with diesel particulate filters for Tier IV compliance.