- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A 42,000-gallon jet fuel spill reported Jan. 21 on Oahu was likely caused by a fuel storage-tank weld failure, a Hawaii state official said.

The state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have recovered nearly 20,000 gallons of spilled jet fuel from two fuel-extraction trenches excavated at the Sand Island tank farm, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://is.gd/Y4gMqQ) reported. The farm supplies fuel to Honolulu International Airport.

Terry Corpus, with the state Department of Health’s Hazardous Evaluation and Emergency Response office, said the weld failed when the operator performed a vacuum test.

The leading edge of spilled fuel, which seeped underground, is 150 feet from the edge of Keehi Lagoon, according to the EPA, which said there are no drinking-water wells in the area. Along the perimeter of the facility is a concrete wall that reaches below the groundwater.

No harbor activities have been affected by the spill and there are no closures, the state Health Department said.

The area contains brackish water or seawater, Corpus said.

Aircraft Service International Group, the company that operates the tank, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. The spill remains under investigation.

The EPA on Friday issued a Clean Water Act compliance order requiring the operator and farm owner Hawaii Fueling Corp. to submit a work plan by Thursday for daily response activities, as well as cleanup of all petroleum or contaminated materials stemming from the spill.

The farm has 16 tanks, each with a capacity of 2.8 million gallons. The same tank in the recent spill was involved in a 2009 fuel spill, and the operator told the state the earlier spill involved wastewater processing, Corpus said. Water from condensation collects at the bottom of fuel tanks, and that water must be drained, he said.

EPA spokesman Dean Higuchi declined to speculate on what potential fines could be imposed on the companies.

“We’re still in response mode and trying to contain and make sure it’s cleaned up,” Higuchi said. “All facilities need to ensure they have proper containment and proper tank monitoring.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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