Seattle firm honored for fuel depot work

By Ed Friedrich
The Kitsap Sun

Renovation of the Manchester fuel depot has been recognized as the top industrial construction project in Western Washington.

Marpac Construction of Seattle completed the $2 million, yearlong job in December.

It captured one of seven awards presented last week by the Associated Builders & Contractors of Western Washington.

The 78-year-old Manchester Fuel Department is operated by the Navy’s Fleet and Industrial Supply Center. Mostly hidden on 234 acres between the town of Manchester and Manchester State Park, it is the largest military fuel facility in the continental United States. It can store 75 million gallons of petroleum products.

Marpac’s tasks included replacing miles of pipe, refurbishing 50,000-gallon tanks, and paving roads and containment berms. Crews had to work around the Navy’s fueling schedule, near flammable materials, in confined spaces such as tunnels and fuel tanks, and in areas accessible only by water and subject to tides.

Marpac also upgraded treatment plants that separate oil from water, rehabilitated the 62-year-old base water system used for fire protection, repaired and installed sprinkler systems in several large buildings, replaced and rehabbed truck loading arms, upgraded the heating system and brought natural gas to two buildings.

The project was completed on time, on budget and without injury.

“What stood out for us getting the project recognized by the ABC is all that stuff, plus working inside a Navy facility is always pretty difficult, all the hoops you’ve got to jump through,” said Albert Na, Marpac’s project manager at Manchester.

Na credited communications among Marpac, the depot and the Army Corps of Engineers for allowing the firm to complete the job in award-winning fashion. The group was led by Bob Cairns, the fuel depot’s deputy director; resident engineer Ed Shafer; Sue Morgan, project lead for the Army Corps of Engineers; and Marpac local superintendent Randy Parker.

“The special thing was how well we worked as a team out there to get these projects off the ground on budget and on time,” Na said.

Marpac crews and its subcontractors had to schedule their work so as not to disrupt fuel depot operations.

“It was just a juggling act,” Cairns said. “We have a very good relationship with them. They’ve been one of the best contractors we’ve had.”

Projects are judged for general excellence — on time, on budget, safety challenges, aesthetics and saving the owner money.

“They were surrounded by water or in huge tunnels with pipes going every which way,” said Kathleen Garrity, executive director of the Associated Builders and Contractors. “There were confined spaces and hazardous materials.

“I’ve been doing this (construction) for 20 years, and I look at these projects and say, ‘That’s way cool,’ ” Garrity said.