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"An ounce of prevention" Airmen install new fuel bladder, help protect environment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Angela Ruiz
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
As an environmental protection measure, Airmen at the 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron's petroleum, oil and lubricants flight replaced an 8,700-pound fuel bladder and berm liner here March 21.

The POL flight sustains about four million gallons of jet fuel for the Transit Center and is responsible for storing, transferring and issuing the fuel efficiently and safely. Each day, they inspect 22 jet fuel tanks, or bladders, for possible issues that could cause punctures. A berm liner designed to provide additional support lies in a containment area below the fuel tanks.

"Over time, we will have to replace these tanks for various reasons," said Master Sgt. Brian Johnson, 376th ELRS fuels operations section chief deployed here from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. "We recently replaced Tank 1."

Changing out the 1,200-pound berm liner and 7,500-pound fuel tank took four days. The POL flight drained 200,000 gallons of fuel from the tank and the 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron used a crane to remove it from the containment area. The 376th ECES environmental flight then disposed of the fuel tank in accordance with Department of Defense and Federal environmental laws.

The berm liner and fuel tank bladder removal took the combined effort of the entire POL shop, 30 additional 376th ELRS Airmen and some heavy machinery operated by the 376th ECES.

"The POL shop positioned the berm liner and the rest of the team unfolded it. Then, kind of like a giant bed sheet, we draped it over the containment area," said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Hollis, 376th ELRS POL distribution supervisor deployed here from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The new fuel tank was then lowered into the containment area by the 376th ECES and positioned and secured by the Airmen.

"Due to the size and length of the material in this project, it couldn't have been completed without the help of our fellow Airmen," Johnson said.

During the next two days, the new fuel bladder was refilled with 200,000 gallons of jet fuel.

"Everything happened so quickly," Hollis said. "Everyone came together to make it happen. Replacing the liner and bladder increased the environmental protection here."
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