Airport Project: Airplane Fuel Facility Project
Airport Project: Airplane Fuel Facility Project
In 1999, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), which is owned and operated by the City of Austin, opened its doors to Austin and Central Texas and has been growing ever since. 2022 was the airport’s busiest year, with over 21 million passengers flying out of AUS. As the airport continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for air travel has significantly increased and the expected number of flights and passengers will double in 20 years. With an increasing demand for air travel and development at the airport, the airport must construct a second Jet-A fuel, or airplane fuel, facility to have enough fuel supply in the coming years to support a growing airport, a growing city and a growing economy.
Steel installation for both tanks continues as well as construction of the concrete containment walls around the tanks. Wetland restoration also began.
Tank steel wall installation.
Preparing to pour concrete for the tank containment walls.
The foundation for the fire foam building was completed. The installation of the stormwater system continues.
Fire Foam Building and generator pads
Installation of stormwater line in progress
Fuel tank construction and foundation work for the fire foam building foundation continues.
Erecting steel panels for storage tanks. Work began on forming and pouring the fire foam building foundation and building transformer pad.
Installed containment liners for both tanks and work continues on the fuel transfer line.
Crews continued work on the stormwater system, underground fuel transfer line, and water line. Crews also worked on enabling infrastructure for the facility’s electrical building, backup generator and transformer.
Tank #101's concrete foundation
Crews continued work on the stormwater system and the underground transfer fuel line and began work on a water line. Concrete foundations were poured for the two fuel tanks.
Concrete foundation for tank #102 dries through a wet curing process
Crews continued work on the stormwater system and underground transfer line.
Stormwater system installation
In a July 26 memo to the Austin City Council, the Department of Aviation reemphasized a commitment to limit the current expansion of the new Jet-A fuel storage facility to the Phase 1 development including two (2) storage tanks at the New Fuel Facility location, unless or until further authorized by Council. Any additional expansion of the Jet-A Fuel storage facility beyond Phase 1, will require a new Environmental Assessment process, which will include robust community engagement and participation by the Airport’s Green Team.
You can read the full memo here.
Crews continued working on installing the stormwater system, electrical ductbanks, and the underground transfer fuel line.
Stormwater system installation
Crews installed erosion control measures and began excavation for stormwater systems and electrical ductbanks. Work started on the transfer line systems and grading for an airport internal perimeter road.
Grading for new airport perimeter road
Stormwater manhole installation
Following the Austin City Council meeting on April 7, 2022 and vote on Item 43, the Department of Aviation issued a Notice to Proceed to the airlines to begin construction of the new fuel facility.
Construction began on the new Jet-A fuel storage facility began with the installation of temporary construction site entrances, project signage, and a project site gate. Construction crews began the installation of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and located utilities. Construction trailers and portables have been delivered to the site and will be set-up in the coming weeks for site crews and project staff to work from.
Temporary construction entrance
This is an update on the fuel facility project, including an important environmental update. Construction on the site broke ground in April 2022. Since then, construction crews have been building the supporting infrastructure for the site, including:
- Construction site entrances
- Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and stormwater system
- A new airport perimeter road
- Erosion control measures
- Concrete foundations for the fuel tanks
This fall, work began on building the two fuel tanks. Neighbors and drivers passing by will see more visible construction activities and equipment, like cranes, as crews continue to build the new tanks. The construction timeline is estimated to wrap up within the next two years.
We continue to update the project website with monthly updates. The City of Austin is currently transitioning the SpeakUpAustin platform where updates are posted to a new service, so there may be delays during this transition time. We appreciate your patience! If you have questions or would like a quick update, please email us at [email protected].
In September, an estimated 500 gallons of a mud-water mixture, commonly used in underground boring projects, reached the surface of the ground as crews were boring an underground tunnel. The mud-water release occurred across about .02 acres of a wetland area on the airport property. At the time of the release, the wetland was dry. The mud-water mixture filled in areas of the wetland that were previously dry. The mud-water does not contain any chemicals that would cause harm to the wetland.
Experts from an underground drilling firm and an environmental consulting firm were hired to help the project team and the City of Austin create a plan to restore the area where the mud-water mixture came into contact with the wetland. The plan includes:
- Using equipment to physically remove the dried mud from the wetland surface.
- Hauling the mud off-site for proper disposal.
- Excavating the affected areas and filling in the excavation holes to the same grade the wetland was before construction started.
- Re-grading the entire affected area and planting native wetland plants and seed mix to grow new plant life.
Restoration work will begin in Spring 2023, when weather conditions are better for planting new grass seedlings. In the meantime, the Department of Aviation environmental affairs and wildlife management team and the Watershed Protection Department are working with the project developer to monitor the site. A protective barrier has been placed around the mud-water to keep it from moving downstream during rainstorms.
The mud-water has remained on the project site and has not traveled into a tributary that connects the wetland to Onion Creek. There are no impacts to people, Onion Creek or any downstream tributaries.
For more information about the accidental mud-water release, please click here to read a Question & Answer sheet. You can also email the community engagement team at [email protected] or give us a call at (512) 715-4287.
Current Airplane Fuel Facility - Background & History
The airport’s main airplane fuel facility storage was constructed in 1998 and is located next to the Barbara Jordan Terminal. The current facility consists of two fuel tanks, one holds 481,000 and the other 691,700 gallons. This facility was created to be the safest and most efficient way to store and supply airplane fuel. It is continuously monitored and undergoes regular inspections by the Austin Fire Department, the Department of Aviation and the airlines. The facility is owned by the airlines that serve AUS and is operated by an independent aviation fueling services provider. The new facility will also be owned and operated by the airlines and their fueling services provider, with the same 24/7 monitoring and regular safety inspections.
For more information about the new facility, read the project fact sheet.
The Need For A New Facility
Since the airport first opened, the number of annual passengers has tripled and the current facility no longer meets the needs of Austin’s growing community. The facility currently has a 2–3-day fuel supply, which doesn't meet the 5-7 day industry standard and cannot support future air service growth for 2022 and beyond. AUS forecasts an increase in fuel demand by an average of 3% to 5% annually over the next ten years.
The new facility will provide a more reliable, safe supply of fuel for the airlines and reliable air service for our community. It was identified as a development project through the airport’s 2040 Master Plan process.
Watch this informational video about how AUS's fuel facility operates:
The AUS 2040 Master Plan
In 2017, the Department of Aviation began creating the 2040 Master Plan, which guides the airport’s growth as it doubles in size and serves as a roadmap to the future modernization of AUS. The need for a new fuel facility and the location of the new fuel facility were identified through this process and are in the final 2040 Master Plan document, which was approved by the Austin City Council and the Federal Aviation Administration.
You can read the 2040 Master Plan and learn more about the plan’s process on this webpage.
Before an airplane fuel facility is constructed, an environmental review is done to evaluate the potential environmental impact of the facility. All information from the review is presented to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the administration that determines if it is safe to create a facility in the first place. If no significant impacts to air quality, socioeconomics or environmental justice, water resources, or other surroundings are expected to occur, then it’s safe to build a fuel facility. In preparation for the new fuel facility, AUS, the airlines and a team of consultants conducted an environmental review and submitted their review to the FAA. The review was granted approval by the FAA on April 8, 2020.
AUS 2040 Master Plan Public Workshops
From 2017 - 2018, the Department of Aviation hosted a series of Master Plan Public Workshops, Project Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee meetings. You can review the archived meeting materials at this webpage:
- October 12, 2017 - Public Workshop #1
- April 19, 2018 - Public Workshop #2
- June 7, 2018 - Public Workshop #3
- September 6, 2018 - Public Workshop #4
District 2 Fall 2021 Community Meetings
In fall 2021, the Department of Aviation and a representative from the engineering firm who is designing the new facility shared a presentation and answered community members' questions. You can view the presentation at this link.
- October 4 - Virtual Meeting
- November 10 - In-Person Meeting
January 29, 2022 Community Information Meetings
On Saturday, January 29, the City of Austin Department of Aviation hosted three community information meetings to inform community members and connect them to educational resources about the site selection, operations, safety, and security features of a proposed jet fuel storage facility. The meetings were in response to City of Austin Council Resolution NO. 20211209-061 and were intended to address the digital divide and language access barriers experienced by community members. One virtual meeting and two limited attendance in-person meetings were held. Both meetings provided simultaneous Spanish interpretation by professional interpreters.
View the February 7, 2022 memo from the Department of Aviation to Mayor and City Council to learn more about how these meetings were attended and publicized.
March 7, 2022 Listening Session
On March 7, 2022 Department of Aviation leadership attended a listening session led by community members to hear personal testimony for airport-adjacent neighbors and community members who were affected by the historic injustice of the East Austin petroleum storage tanks.
April 5, 2022 Austin City Council Work Session - Jet Fuel Storage Facility
AUS leadership briefed Austin City Council on the Fuel Facility Project at the City Council Work Session on April 5, 2022. The Work Session was recorded by ATXN which can be watched online at: https://austintx.new.swagit.com/videos/158053
Community Meetings Summary Report
Community Meetings Summary Report and Council Work Session Presentations
Department of Aviation Memos to Mayor and Council
Alternative Site Analysis & New Site Renderings
Environmental Assessment Documentation
AUS Mud-Water Release FAQ
Airport Public Information Office - City of Austin Department of Aviation
Email - [email protected]