City agrees to change fuel system at airport

City agrees to change fuel system at airport by David Lias Pilots who use the Vermillion City Airport will, in the near future, be fueling their planes by a method the city hopes will not only be more convenient, but also meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

In a special meeting Monday night, the Vermillion City Council agreed to authorize City Manager Jeff Pederson to negotiate a waiver by the current airport management of the city's obligation to provide fuel, or to terminate that contract.

The council also agreed to enter into a fuel system agreement with Petro-Tech of Chamberlain. That agreement will commence upon the waiver of the current airport management agreement.

The changes at the airport are necessary because the fuel tanks there are located underground, and the EPA is now requiring such storage facilities to be placed above ground.

Pederson told the council that Petro Tech would own the new tanks at the airport, and would carry products liability insurance for their contents, "as well as any leakage issues that may come up."

The new system will include equipment that will allow pilots to fuel their own planes and pay for the fuel by a major credit card or a card obtained from Petro Tech.

Petro Tech won't be able to begin work on the Vermillion project until next spring, for its work schedule for this year has already been filled. An exception would be if the weather cooperates this winter.

If the project is not completed by Dec. 21, the city will be subject to a 10 percent fine of the capacity of any tank that remains in service, and it will need proof of a pending contract with an installation firm.

In other words, the fine for a 4,000 gallon tank would be $400.

Petro Tech has agreed to pay such a fine if only one tank remains in service.

The new fueling system at the airport will require the approval of the South Dakota Department of Natural Resources, the State Fire Marshal, and the FAA.

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