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Craney Island Fuel Terminal

Craney Island Fuel Terminal, Portsmouth, Virginia is the Navy's largest fuel facility in the United States. It possesses 1100 acres (4.45 E6 m2) of above- and below- ground fuel storage tanks. The base supports naval fuel storage operations within the region and includes several large capacity fuel storage tanks, above and below grade piping, fuel pump stations and dispensing systems, and pier side fuel facilities. FISC Norfolk's Fuel Department operates the Navy's largest Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) in the continental United States and is a leader in the Navy's effort to rightsize and regionalize. We continually look for opportunities to provide better services to DoD customers and save taxpayer dollars. The department operates three GO-CO (government owned & contractor operated) fuel terminals and provide centralize regional support/management of Navy POL services. The primary terminal is located in Portsmouth, Va. on Craney Island. Other terminals are located on Naval Station Norfolk, Va. and in Yorktown, Va. The department is staffed by a Contracting Orfficer's Representative (COR) of one officer and 8 civilian employees, and a Regional Fuel Central Site Office of 1 civilian employee. FISC's Fuel Department provides fuel, lubricants and fuel related service to approximately 256 fleet and industrial customers with an average throughput of 15 million barrels of fuel per year. Facilities include 60 storage tanks and over 100 miles of pipeline.

During the War of 1812, Norfolk's defenses rested chiefly on Craney Island, which guarded the narrow channel of the Elizabeth River. The island had a 7-gun fortification and was manned by 580 Regulars and militia in addition to 150 sailors and marines from the Constellation. The British planned to land an 800-man force on the mainland and, when low tide permitted, march onto the island in a flanking movement. As the tide rose, another 500 men would be rowed across the shoals for a frontal assault. On June 22 the landing party debarked four miles northwest of the island, but the flanking move was countered by the highly accurate marksmanship of the USS Constellation's gunners and was forced to pull back. The frontal assault also suffered from well-directed American fire, which sank three barges and threw the rest into confusion. After taking 81 casualties, the British sailed off in disorder. The defenders counted no casualties.

The CSS VIRGINIA was constructed from the partly burned U.S. steam frigate MERRIMACK in drydock No. 1 at Gosport Navy Yard. She entered dock on 30 May 1861 and left dock and attacked the Federal squadron in Hampton Roads on 8 March 1862, engaged the MONITOR on 9 March 1862. When the Navy Yard was evacuated by the Confederate forces, the VIRGINIA was found to be too deep for navigation in the James River and to avoid capture was destroyed by her own crew off Craney Island 11 May 1862. She was raised 30 May 1876 and broken up in No. 1 drydock.

First opened in 1918, the fuel depot on Craney Island has been operating for many years. Tanks used to store jet and diesel fuel include a combination of underground storage tanks (UST) and aboveground storage tanks (AST). The four groups of USTs include three groups of concrete tanks built in 1942 and one group of steel tanks built in 1953. One of these USTs is a confirmed leaking tank which was cleaned and abandoned in 1989. Consequently, free product remains in the ground around the tank and the site is identified officially as a Defense Environmental Restoration Account (DERA) site. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) requires recovery of this free product to preclude contamination of groundwater and seepage into State waters.

Craney Island installed three solar-powered skimmer units to do the job. These units draw fuel from the ground through tubing assemblies that are inserted into existing two inch ground monitoring wells, which are lined with PVC pipe that extends to the water table. The skimmer tubing assembly, floating at the fuel/water interface, filters groundwater out. It leaves an oil sheen of only .02 inches. The pump is present to automatically run for 50 seconds to draw petroleum product out of the well. Once drawn out of the well, the product is routed to a 240-gallon aboveground double-walled tank. After the 50-second run, the pump shuts down for 25 minutes to allow product to accumulate in the well. Solar power recharges each unit's 12-volt battery, which operates the pump. The solar panel faces due south (180 degree true), with the tilt angle determined by the latitude. Optimal energy production is achieved by seasonally adjusting the tilt angle.

The Atlantic Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, operates a biological treatment cell (BTC) at Craney Island Fuel Terminal. Fuel-contaminated soil is treated during the summer in the biological treatment cell. The BTC covers approximately 15 acres (6.07 E4 m2), is bermed on all sides, and has sumps for the collection of irrigation and rain water. Beneath a 12 - 18 inch (30.5 - 45.7 cm) layer of contaminated soil is a sand layer, followed by a polyethylene liner, another sand layer, a geogrid liner, and finally, a compacted clay base. After the fuel-contaminated soil is added to the cell, it is tilled, fertilized, and irrigated on a regular schedule until the treatment objectives are met. Approximately 1/2 acre (2.02 E3 m2) of the BTC is separated as the phytoremediation study area. The phytoremediation area is 120 ft (36.6 m) by 180 ft (54.9 m).

The Craney Island Dredged Material Area, a 2,500-acre manmade peninsula in Norfolk Harbor near Portsmouth, Va., contains material dredged from Hampton Roads channels. The area is divided into three cells; one cell is always being pumped into while the other two are drying out. A weir is a small dam across a stream that controls the flow of water out of one area into another. The weirs on Craney separate the dredged material settling to the bottom from the clear water on the surface, and allow the clear water to flow back into the harbor. The prototype telescoping weir can be raised and lowered to adjust for greater or lesser amounts of dredged material being pumped into Craney. The telescoping weirs can adjust for any depth from the surface down to 15 feet. It weighs about 15,000 pounds. Solar panels and a 24-volt electric system powers the small motor that raises and lowers the weir lip. The telescoping weirs at Craney have an estimated service life of about 15 years. A telescoping weir is easier to operate and requires less manpower, results in better water quality, and is safer to operate. Another advantage of the telescoping weir is that it is remote controlled and several weirs can be operated from one site.

Dredged material was used to construct the confined disposal facility (CDF). The CDF constructed was protected with a riprap dike. Vegetation occurred via natural colonization. Natural growth of marsh and upland vegetation occurred. Wildlife habitat was provided. Pre-project engineering monitoring done by Waterways Experiment Station (WES) and Norfolk District. No pre-project environmental monitoring was conducted. Post-project monitoring has been almost exclusively engineering; however, wildlife use is occurring on the site, and natural marsh and upland vegetation is growing inside the CDF.

The staff of Norfolk District's Craney Island Dredged Material Area received the Virginia Society of Ornithology Jack M. Abbott Conservation award for 1996. The award was presented for "their contributions and assistance in the creation, protection and preservation of critical habitat for beach nesting birds. The management of these nesting areas and protection of these sites have resulted in the increased population of the piping plover and the least tern." Craney Island Dredged Material Area, a 2,500-acre man-made peninsula in Norfolk Harbor next to Portsmouth, Va., was created to support the creation and maintenance of navigation channels. The bird protection project became formal in 1984 under a cooperative agreement with the College of William and Mary and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

On Sept. 18, 2003, Hurricane Isabel roared through the Hampton Roads, Va. area. Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Craney Island absorbed a major hit from the storm. During the storm's tidal surge, the waters of the Elizabeth River completely flooded the southeast portion of the terminal. The waters rose to a level of over five feet on the southeast portion of the terminal and did extensive damage to the facilities. A half-mile of the main access road into Craney Island was washed away, limiting access to the terminal. Many portions of the electrical system were flooded causing extensive damage to installed equipment. The most intense damage was to Pier D, the main fuel pier. Pilings and fenders totaling 900 feet were torn from the pier and strewn about the facility by the surging waters.

On Sept. 19, 2003, the government and contractor (Trajen) staffs began cleanup and recovery actions. Debris was cleared, systems were tested and damage assessments were prepared. On Sept. 20, 2003, fuel operations began with truck deliveries to emergency generators on the Norfolk Naval Base and the arrival of the USNS Patuxent for refueling. The estimated value of damage at Craney Island is $4.8 million. Despite the damage, DFSP Craney Island has continued to conduct fueling operations. Tanker schedules are closely coordinated with Military Sealift Command, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Port Ops to ensure pier availability. Although there is now an element of inconvenience with pier usage, DFSP Craney Island continues to provide outstanding service to all customers. The success of the recovery and restoration at Craney Island is due to the cooperative efforts of government and contractor staffs, Navy Petroleum Office and the Defense Energy Support Center.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:46:31 ZULU