Navy says switch in improper position caused jet fuel spill

The Navy says the jet fuel leak was a result of a switch being in the incorrect position.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- After more than a week of living with fumes from a jet fuel leak... people in Virginia Beach finally have some answers about how this happened.

Late on the night of Wednesday, May 10, 94,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

On Friday, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Rear Admiral Jack Scorby briefed the media outside the main gate at Oceana. Scorby described the 880,000 gallon storage tanks they have at what is called "the fuel farm." He said there is an above ground  pipeline that pumps the fuels into the tanks.

And that's where things went wrong, sometime between the evening of May 10 and the early morning of May 11.

"The initial indications are that during routine refueling operations ... a fuel switch was in the incorrect position," Scorby said. "So instead of routing the fuel into one of these large tanks -- which are surrounded by a containment area --  the fuel accepted flowed into a smaller, 2,000-gallon tank that overflowed for several hours outside of the containment area."

Scorby said the mistake was not discovered until about 6 a.m. the following morning.

He added that he is confident the environmental cleanup will be completed within days.

As for as the nearby residents, he said some 200 homes were affected, and that 48 families have requested temporary relocation, which the Navy is paying for.

PHOTOS: Jet fuel spill at NAS Oceana

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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