Marina’s disabled fuel tank being replaced

After being “good neighbors” and allowing Kitsap Bank to throw its 100th-birthday bash last weekend, the Port of Bremerton began work to replace its damaged diesel fuel tank this week.

Director of marina facilities Steve Slaton said crews broke ground Monday, and by Friday the old tank had been removed from its home underneath the marina’s parking lot.

“If everything goes well, the new tank will go in tomorrow,” Slaton said, explaining that the tanks are being taken in and out during low tides to have “as little water as possible” in the hole during the process.

The tank has been out of commission and diesel sales suspended since June of last year, when Slaton said marina staff were first alerted to a breach in the tank’s inner layer.

Since then, he said, staff has so far determined that no fuel actually leaked from the tank’s outer layer into the ground.

“There’s been no indication of any leaking,” Slaton told the port’s board of commissioners Tuesday during his staff report. “There was standing water at the bottom of the (tank’s) pit, and there was no sheen on it.”

Slaton said tests for any hydrocarbon — or fuel — will be ongoing during the project.

“(Again), if all goes well, we should be back in the business of selling fuel in three weeks,” he said, explaining that the port has suspended gasoline sales for the time being as well.

Slaton said the port is paying the contractors $214,00 to replace the tank, which includes $24,000 for a new tank.

Originally, Slaton said, the port thought it might be able to save money by purchasing a new tank itself, but later determined it was best to have the contractors supply a replacement.

When an audience member at Tuesday’s port commissioners’ meeting asked why it had taken so long to begin replacing the tank and how much revenue the port had lost on diesel sales, Slaton said several factors had caused the delay.

First, he said, the port had attempted to simply repair the existing tank, but had to change tactics. After that, he said it was a “long path of hiring consultants and acquiring permits.”

Commissioner Larry Stokes said some of the delay was his fault.

“I was the cause of at least two months of it, since I asked (a contractor) to look at the tank (in the hopes of repairing it), but it didn’t work out,” Stokes said. “It probably could have been done two months ago if I hadn’t requested that.”

As far as the revenue the port lost, Slaton estimated that during “a typical year” the port sells about $50,000 worth of both diesel and gasoline, and that diesel sales make up less than half of that.

He estimated that during the past year while the tank was broken, the port might have sold about $20,000 worth of diesel.

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