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Navy base 20,000-gallon concrete fuel tank unearthed during construction project

For Immediate Release

By Jason Lefevre, FLETC Office of Public Affairs

GLYNCO, Ga. - Contractors working on Building 36 at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) recently uncovered a giant remnant from a former fuel station located at the site.

On Nov. 21, 2019, contractors discovered a 20,000-gallon underground concrete fuel tank while performing additions and renovations for the Federal Protective Service training building.

Alethia Canady, architect with the Design and Construction Branch, Facilities Management Division (FMD), is the project manager overseeing the construction project.

"The site contractor found the tank while beginning cleanup of top soil to start the foundation of new additions," Canady stated. "Over time, since its closure by the Army Corps of Engineers, accumulation of dirt and grass over the lid had hidden the tank from view."

After the discovery of the fuel tank, the Contracting Officer from Procurement Division ordered the contractor to stop work.

"Work was stopped on the construction project," Canady said. "Real Property [Branch in FMD], Environmental and Safety Division [ESD] and FLETC representatives were brought to the site to inspect and determine the way forward. ESD went to their archives to find the closure report on the tank from the Army Corps of Engineers. Real Property tracked the tank down to determine size and location in the archive plans of demolished buildings from the Navy. The designer of record asked questions such as, 'could the tank remain and simply be filled?' The answer was no, it could not, as it was directly under a main support column of the new construction."

The designer of record, in this case the Johnson-McAdams Firm out of Mississippi, is responsible for code compliance and the safety of the project, among other things.

Canady continued, "From here, the Contracting Officer's Representative and the Contracting Officer worked together to create a modification package with funding to have the tank removed after environmental testing was done to determine there was no actual fuel remaining in the soil or tank."

Once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed the closure, they cleaned the area, filled with fuel tank with sand, and closed the fuel tank by capping it with concrete. 

With that complete, the USACE, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, gave the all clear. Canady and Shannon Anthony, a contracting officer with Procurement Division, completed the modification, and the contactors returned to remove the fuel tank. 

EMC Engineering Services, Inc. took soil samples March 17, and removal of the fuel tank began March 23. By the end of the next day, most of the demolition of the tank was completed and removed from the site, and by March 26, the tank was gone from the hole, and backfill and compaction started. By March 30, the hole was filled and the entire area leveled and ready.

While it was not a long process, it was a necessary one.

According to Canady, "The tank could not remain under the new foundation because of the possibility of uneven settling in the building that would cause catastrophic cracking and damage to a newly constructed building. In general, it is not a good idea to leave fuel tanks in the ground due to the potential for remaining fuel in the tank to leak over time."

And why was there a fuel tank located there in the first place?

"During the time of the Navy base, this corner of the Glynco FLETC site was originally the Fire Station, Maintenance and Vehicle Shop," said Canady. "The tank was part of the fueling station for these activities."

Demolition begins on a recently discovered 20,000-gallon underground fuel tank during renovations at FLETC Glynco.
(FLETC Architect Design and Construction Branch, Facilities Management Division / Alethia Canady)

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Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers
Protocol & Communications Office
Contact: 912-267-2447