DFSP Yorktown ceases fuel operations

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

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The final large barge lift of jet fuel marks the end of an era for the historic Defense Fuel Support Point Yorktown, Virginia, June 6.

The transfer of 150,000 barrels of jet fuel to the Military Sealift Command fuel barge, Petrochem Producer, and the drawdown of fuel to tank bottom levels marks the start of the final accountability process for the 117 year-old, government-owned, contractor-operated fuel terminal.

“DFSP Yorktown will cease fuel operations in June,” said Naval Supply System Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk Regional Fuel Director David Henderson. “Naval Facilities Command will issue a Defense Logistics Agency Energy funded demolition contract and, after demolition, the property will be available to the Navy for alternate uses.”

While the terminal was managed by Naval Supply System Command, DLA Energy is responsible for funding and overseeing the maintenance, repair, sustainment, restoration, modernization and recapitalization of the military’s fuel structure that contains DLA fuel. DLA Energy currently has fuel stored in 465 DFSPs located throughout the U.S. and around the world.

DLA Energy’s ability to divest aged infrastructure and reduce excess capacity is part of DLA’s core competency to provide the most cost-effective and efficient solutions and free up resources for higher priorities. Closing the Yorktown fuel terminal will save the federal government $101 million in renovation costs.

Keith Stedman is the director for DLA Energy Supply Chain Management. He provides the enterprise-level management for both DFSP operations and the DLA-owned bulk petroleum inventory.

“When we have an aged facility, like DFSP Yorktown, we go through a process to decide if it is worth recapitalization,” Stedman said.  “In 2011, economic analysis recommended the closure of DFSP Yorktown and realignment of fuel terminal operations to DFSP Craney Island.”

The move to close DFSP Yorktown was enabled because of the expansion and consolidation of the government-owned, contractor-operated DFSP Craney Island. In fiscal year 2015, a $36.5 million military construction plan was approved to replace and alter the fuel distribution facilities at DFSP Craney Island. The improvements include a new truck rack, pipeline modifications and conversion of two 100,000 barrel tanks from JP5 to Jet A fuel.

DFSP Yorktown’s closure follows DLA Energy efforts to reduce underground fuel storage and create more resilient fuel tanks as witnessed by the successful closure of the World War II era DFSP San Pedro, California, in March 2017.

In the 1950’s, DSFP Yorktown tanks were built underground to protect against aerial bombardment and provide aviation turbine fuel (F-24) received through the Colonial pipeline from Houston, Texas. The fuel was distributed by barge and truck, primarily to Langley Air Force Base. The historic fuel terminal has 10 below ground fuel tanks built in 1953 that will be demolished along with the removal of pier piping and equipment.

Four cut and cover tanks were demolished in 2015 and soil remediation completed. Today, deer graze on land where the below ground fuel tanks use to store F24 and JP8. Outside the fuel farm perimeter, is the historic site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.

DFSP Yorktown Terminal Manager Tony Bowman explained the trend is to move away from underground fuel facilities.

“It is safer on the environment,” Bowman said. “You can see fuel leaks sooner when tanks and pipes are above ground, and they are easier to maintain.”

“Depending on the threat, particularly in coastal areas, tanks were built underground to prevent shrapnel damage,” Stedman further explained. “The technology and security threats have changed, and the trend today is to have fewer larger tanks in the U.S. Replacing the older single wall tanks and rightsizing underground fuel storage offers better protection with lower risk.”

DLA Energy Americas at Houston oversees the truck and barge fuel shipments in and out of Yorktown. The closure of Yorktown and the transfer of operations to Craney Island is a positive change, Stedman said.

“(Craney Island) is almost transparent operations for us,” said DLA Energy Americas at Houston Eastern Seaboard Team Supervisor John Stublar. “Product that shipped from Houston would be fully additized at Craney using its new fuel injection systems.” 

If we didn’t have the new truck rack at DFSP Craney, we wouldn’t be able to do it, Stublar added.

Soil testing and surveys will be conducted at the DFSP Yorktown to prepare the land for future use.

“DFSP Yorktown has an awesome work force and is well maintained, providing exceptional warfighter support for many years,” Henderson said.  “However, closing this facility rather than recapitalizing the pier and tanks is the right decision for taxpayers and DoD."