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Airport fuel storage plans filed with Town Planner

Runway Tunnel project 08-04-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) progressing quickly

The Gibraltar Government has filed plans with the Town Planner for a new fuel storage and transfer station at the Gibraltar Airport.

According to the plans, the Fuel Farm Project will be located at the northern side of the east end of the runway, between the international border between Gibraltar and Spain.

The fuel storage will have a capacity of approximately 500 cubic meters (109,986 gallons) and aims to be able to cater for the “the anticipated increase in fuel demand from commercial flights.”

At present, the airport does not have storage facilities for Jet fuel and instead it is brought in by road tankers from Spain and placed directly into airfield bowsers. The current fuel transfer station is located where the airport tunnel will be.

According to the documents filed with the Town Planner, “the demand of the commercial flights is growing and the random demand of the RAF is hard to cope with, operational and strategic fuel storage on the airport is a necessity.”

The fuel storage and transfer station will house Jet A1 fuel and its location adheres to the necessary compliance issues for airplane turning and taxiing.

The fuel farm will be located both airside and landside.

Landside, there will be an unloading area of tank trucks, a control room, unloading pumps and slops tank bund and a car park.

“This area has a position for transferring kerosene JET A1 from tank trucks coming from the refinery to the Storage Tanks of the Fuel Farm. This transfer is done through a bottom loading arm, from where the product is sent to the loading pumps of the Storage tanks,” state the filed documents.

Re the unloading pumps and slops tank bund, “Two loading pumps are installed, two filter water separators and a SLOPS tank.”

“The bund consists of a perimeter wall of 300 mm in height, for containment of potential spills. The possible kerosene spillage caused by pipes and filters together with the rainwater are sent to a collection pit, from where they will be drained by gravity into the hydrocarbon separator.”

“The SLOPS tank is located inside a pit attached to the pumps bund. A submergible pump is installed inside to pump the rainwater and possible spills to the collection pit.”

Airside, there will be a fuel storage area, loading area of bowsers, airside control building, loading pumps bund, drainage facilities - hydrocarbon separator.

The storage area consists of 4 JET A1 buried tanks of 165 cubic meters which will be filled by bowsers at the landside area and supply the bowsers at the airside area.

“The tanks are installed in a bund formed by a concrete slab. This bund is filled with sand, with the last 20 cm covered by a layer of topsoil, leaving accessible the nozzles above the tanks,” states the filled documents.

There is space for the installation of a fifth tank, if the expansion is required.

Re the loading area of bowsers, “JET-A1 from the above tanks is sent by gravity to the pumps bund and from there to the loading area.”

“This transfer is done through two sets of equipment: each one formed by a pump, a filter separator and a loading arm. Both the filters and pumps are located inside of the bund at the airside area.”

“Each loading arm is connected to a different loading pump, which it can load independently from the JET A1 storage tanks and, therefore, the facility is able to load two different bowsers at the same time.”

Re the loading pumps bund, “In the bund, located near the tanks bund, two loading pumps will be installed and two filter water separators.”

The bund is the same that is located landside.

On the drainage facilities - hydrocarbon separator, “all fuel farm rainwater drains are met in a common pit, before the final delivery to the main collection pit. From there, the water pass through the hydrocarbon separator, which removes the hydrocarbons present in the water before sending it to the main drainage of the airport.”

“It has been placed a bypass with motor valves for when heavy rainfall occurs and the separator is unable to absorb the flow. In this case, the by-pass will be opened, sending clean water directly to the drainage system.”

“Furthermore, when a spill occurs, it will be closed the inlet valve to the hydrocarbon separator and the bypass, containing in this way the pollution in the pit which spillage will have to be removed for further processing outside the fuel farm.”

Fire detection and alarm

The facility will have an emergency pushbutton located beside the landside loading bund, a smoke detector in the workshop, office and toilet of the main building, an emergency pushbutton located beside the airside loading bund and one at the loading island.

There will also be a local sound and visual alarm on the facade of the main building.

“All emergency signals are sent through a switchboard installed in the workshop area of the airside control building, to the new airport terminal. Thus, the airport receives the emergency signal and the location where the emergency has occurred,” state the filled documents.

“When the terminal building is not operative, the fuel farm will be connected to the fire alarm system via an auto-dialler to the fire brigade Control room to ensure that in the event of the alarm being raised (both automatically and manually) the fire brigade would be immediately alerted,” it added.

Pic by Johnny Bugeja

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