Using Innovation to Help a Large Municipality Avert an Environmental Crisis

November 29, 2019

Overview

McCon’s leadership team includes industry professionals with decades of combined experience across a diverse array of fields. This experience includes areas like fuel system construction and maintenance, regulatory compliance, and project management, just to name a few.

This comprehensive knowledge base allows McCon to effectively handle sensitive, high-stakes projects where multiple factors have to be taken into account, even under immense pressure and tight deadlines.

For this project, McCon delivered an unexpected solution that helped a municipality replace an aging fuel system, avoid an environmental crisis, and address the increasing demands on municipal services due to population growth.

Key Competencies:

  • Devising innovative solutions to novel problems
  • Diverse knowledge base: engineering issues, environmental regulations, governing agencies, etc.
  • Ability to deliver solutions that simultaneously solve present problems and address future concerns

Problem

A large municipality in Texas discovered that the underground storage tank (UST) it used to fuel its municipal fleet had been compromised by a nearby water source.

The compromised UST presented a multi-faceted problem for the municipality. Not only was the water intrusion spoiling the fuel, but there was an imminent threat of significant environmental damage from a fuel leak, including ground water contamination. The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was actively monitoring the situation, and the municipality was facing fines if the problem was not quickly resolved.

Solution

The municipality chose McCon to lead the project based on the company’s demonstrated ability to solve complex problems, giving the McCon team autonomy to decide on and delivery an appropriate solution.

Upon inspecting the site, McCon determined that the source of the water intrusion was higher in elevation than the tank, indicating a significant risk of a future breach if the UST was simply repaired. Because of this, it was apparent that the project would require redesigning the system in order to protect the municipality from continued problems down the road.

The issue of preventing future water intrusion was only one relevant factor in designing the new system. Additionally, rapid population growth and development in the municipality was increasing and altering the demands on public resources. Having a single, stationary fuel site was no longer an optimal situation.

McCon devised an innovative solution that suited the municipality’s unique circumstances. The new fuel system would center around two 1,000 gallon above-ground storage tanks (ASTs), one each for regular unleaded and diesel fuel. 90% of the new system would be above ground, and the new ASTs would be fully portable.

One of the major challenges of this approach was the lead time involved in manufacturing the new system. In order to make the most efficient use of the available time, McCon began constructing the above-ground platform immediately. Fuel was pumped down from the UST as much as possible in the meantime to prevent fuel spoilage and mitigate the possibility of a leak.

The preparatory work finished during the manufacturing lead time paid off. Once the new system was delivered, replacement of the existing UST was completed within 5 days.

Outcome

McCon’s fast response and execution averted a potential ecological and civic crisis, and helped the municipality avoid fines from regulatory agencies.

The new fuel system provided multiple advantages for the municipality compared to a UST:

Cost Effectiveness

Because the new system primarily consisted of ASTs, it was easier and cheaper to maintain and/or repair if necessary. Additionally, the new system was subject to lower insurance premiums by virtue of being above ground.

Portable

Rapid population growth, development, and increasing demands on municipal resources were significant factors. The mobility of the new system provided a major advantage, eliminating the need to build multiple permanent fuel sites to serve the municipal fleet.

Reduced Environmental and Financial Risk from Leaks

The ASTs mitigated the risk of spoiled fuel as well as environmental contamination resulting from fuel leaks. Because the system was mostly above ground (and due to the volume of the ASTs), regulatory exposure for the municipality was greatly reduced.

McCon’s innovative problem solving and fast execution turned a potential disaster into a net positive for the municipality. The new fuel system managed to solve the municipality’s immediate problems while also addressing its changing needs for the future.