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Fewer tanks, more fuel for Resolute

Stephanie McDonald
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 27, 2007

RESOLUTE - Work continues on dismantling and replacing the aging tank farm in Resolute, ensuring the facility complies with environmental codes.

The community's fuel tanks are found in three locations: south camp, mid camp, and the airport. A pipeline connects the tank farms to the airport facility. Some of the tanks are still standing but are no longer in use.

Construction and containment is underway at the south camp. One tank has been relocated to a new pad and three tanks are being jacked up for relocation, said Susan Makpah, a director with Petroleum Products Division.

After work at south camp has been completed, the tanks at mid camp will be dismantled.

"If there is any reusable material, we will reuse them in other communities," Makpah said.

Unusable material will be sent south for disposal.

The tank farm at the airport will remain to hold jet fuel.

The pipeline that runs between the tank farms is being dismantled, and trucks will soon deliver the fuel between the south camp and the airport.

"The tank farm exceeds the community's requirements," Makpah said. "It was a very, very large tank farm."

Nunavut Construction Ltd. was awarded the contract last year to continue the work that has been ongoing since 2002.

The contract is for three years and is worth $5.6 million. The company has employed 11 people to work on the site, some from the community and others brought in from the south, said general manager Maurice Fortier.

Construction of the tank farm is expected to be complete in 2009.

"Back in the seventies, they thought Resolute was going to be a growing and busy community," Resolute SAO Josh Hunter said of why the tank farms are so large.

Makpah said there are about 60 different sized fuel storage tanks on the sites, 19 of which are still in use. Combined, they hold 29 million litres. The new design will include only seven huge tanks, which will contain a total of 41 million litres by 2009.

Close to $7.5 million has been budgetted for the project.

Discontinuing the use of the pipeline will be a relief for the community, Hunter said, as there have been fuel spills in the past, including one last summer. A bulldozer punctured the pipeline, spilling approximately 3,000 to 5,000 litres of fuel.

"Most of that was contained in the berm area, so they got lucky," Hunter said.Construction of the tanks stretched over 20 years. The first was built in 1951 and the last in 1972 by Transport Canada.

"The purpose was to supply fuel for operating the airport," said Susan McLennan, a spokesperson with Transport Canada. The tanks held aviation fuel, heating fuel, gasoline and diesel.

The heating fuel was used for a residence that housed up to 100 airport employees that is no longer in use.

The federal department had originally built the tank farms but never operated them. They were initially leased to Tower Arctic and then to Imperial Oil starting in 1967. The airport and its facilities, including the tank farms, were transferred to the Government of the Northwest Territories in July 1995, and subsequently to the Government of Nunavut in 1999.