Midway Atoll is a US territory located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,100 miles from O’ahu. The remote atoll consists of several islets, the largest of which was home to the Midway Naval Air Station. Midway is best known as the site of a major battle that changed the course of World War II.
Midway Atoll was decreed a National Wildlife Refuge in 1988. The air station’s closure in 1993 marked the start of Midway’s ‘bullets to birds’ transition under the direction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
GeoEngineers’ history of service to the FWS at the Midway Atoll National Refuge dates back to 2002. One of the largest projects began in 2003, when the FWS contracted GeoEngineers to respond to and remediate a large jet fuel spill that threatened sensitive nesting areas and shoreline habitat. Since then, GeoEngineers has provided a wide range of environmental, planning and assessment activities to assist in transforming the base to a fully functioning wildlife refuge.
GeoEngineers was awarded a contract with FWS to keep the refuge’s infrastructure operational while the agency evaluated long-term operating options. GeoEngineers provided municipal-type services that included operating the power and water distribution systems, maintaining and operating fuel distribution and port facilities, providing operational staff and inventorying equipment and facilities.
A fuel valve failed during routine operations at Midway Atoll in 2003, resulting in the loss of 100,000 gallons of JP5 fuel. GeoEngineers immediately mobilized a team of 20 that quickly stopped the lateral fuel migration at the spill site and recovered 30,000 gallons of fuel during the initial, month-long emergency phase. GeoEngineers also performed a site characterization of the spill site and implemented a product recovery system that Refuge personnel could maintain.
GeoEngineers later evaluated post-spill risks to humans and the Refuge environment and developed risk-based clean-up goals for contaminants associated with the release and procedures for future spill prevention.
Through these and other projects at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, GeoEngineers has been responsive to the needs of the FWS and joined in its commitment to restoring and preserving this national treasure for future generations.
US Fish and Wildlife Service