City, State To Split Cost To Replace Fuel Tanks

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week signed off on a roughly $300,000 unanticipated expenditure to cover the city’s share of replacing four underground fuel storage tanks at the public works complex near 65th Street.

For the last year and a half or so, the city’s main public works campus on the bayside roughly between 64th and 67th streets has been undergoing a major overhaul and expansion. Among the components of the vast, $25 million complex is an overhaul of the city’s fuel depot including the canopy, gas pumps and underground tanks.

There are four underground tanks at the facility that provide fuel to the city’s vast fleet of vehicles including public works trucks and equipment, police and emergency services vehicles and the municipal buses, among others. During the design phase of the project well over a year ago, the four tanks, including two 8,000-gallon tanks for gas and two 8,000-gallon tanks for diesel, were inspected and approved.

However, now that the fuel depot element of the overall campus project has begun, the four tanks were recently tested again and were found to be failing. Public Works Director Hal Adkins explained the situation to the Mayor and Council on Tuesday.

“We’re now about 71 weeks into the campus project,” he said. “It’s been about three years since the tanks were inspected and tested. With the fuel depot portion of the project now underway, they were tested again and failed and have been pumped out and taken out of the ground.”

Adkins explained the fuel tanks were one of the first elements installed when the city took over an old amusement park property at the site nearly four decades ago.

“Those four underground tanks at 65th Street date back to 1983 or so,” he said. “That was one of the first projects undertaken when the town took over the Playland property.”

The four tanks have since been removed and need to be replaced at an estimated total cost of $608,605, which will be added as a change order to the overall price tag of the public works campus project. Adkins on Tuesday requested an appropriation of around $304,000 from fund balance, or the town’s 50% share of the overall project.

Because the fuel depot and the underground tanks serve the town’s municipal bus service and transit system, the Maryland Transit Administration will provide the 50% match. The council voted 5-0 to approve the expenditure.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.