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Aging airport fuel facility may need replacing

By DAVID TEWES
Dec. 13, 2010 at 6:13 a.m.


other news:Commissioner's Court named Commissioner Gary Burns as county judge pro tem to replace outgoing Commissioner Wayne Dierlam, who has been the judge pro tem.

Commissioner's Court recognized service to the public rendered by Dierlam and outgoing County Clerk Val Huvar, the state's longest serving county clerk.

Victoria Regional Airport's aging underground fuel storage system may need replacing, which could be an expensive proposition.

That's why the commissioners court voted Monday to approve a resolution of support seeking permission to use federal grant money to build a new system.

"We've had considerable problems out there with the fuel farm facility," County Judge Don Pozzi said. "It's something we've been putting off that needs to be done."

Jason Milewski, who manages the airport, said he's still weighing the cost of building a new system versus repairing the old system. He estimates it would cost $544,440 to build a new, above-ground fuel farm more conveniently located.

About $408,330 would come from a Federal Aviation Administration grant funneled through the Texas Department of Transportation. Pozzi said the county would have to provide a cash match of about $136,110.

"No matter what we do with the old system and no matter how much money we spend on it, all we're doing is Band-Aiding it," Milewski said. "We're just going to have to deal with it again, as we have year after year after year."

He said the system breaks down frequently and is so old it's nearly impossible to get replacement parts. Those parts typically have to be custom made and that's not cheap, he said.

"In September, our staff had noticed fuel pooling on the surface of the ground within the basin of the fuel tanks," he said. "It's preferred to have an above-ground system, whereas anytime you have an issue with it, it's visually evident."

The airport is working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to determine the source of the fuel.

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