Workers install one of the new fuel tanks at Gladwin's Zettel Memorial Airport Monday.
GLADWIN - The Gladwin Zettel Memorial Airport is back in full service now that two new fuel tanks have been installed. The tanks were delivered and installed on Feb. 13.
Although planes have been able to take-off from and land at the airport, fuel has not always been available. In 2006, the Dept. of Environmental Quality found the airport to be out of compliance with current fuel storage regulations. At the time, the facility had two 5,000 and one 12,000 gallon tank. They, along with the 38-year-old piping, were potential sources of soil contamination or other problems. Also, couldn't be monitored because they were underground. One of the smaller tanks, which held 80 low lead aviation gas, had already been shut down because this grade of gas was discontinued. The other 5,000 tank held jet fuel, which ran out over five years ago. So when the 12,000 tank of 100 low level AV gas ran out, the airport found itself "dry."
The old tanks and piping were removed and a pad was constructed for the two new above-ground tanks. This will allow on-going monitoring and easy-access maintenance. The 12,000 gallon tank will hold gas, while the 5,000 one will hold jet fuel.
The cost of the new system is $305,000, which is the lowest bid received by the airport. Obtaining funding for the project was a four-year process. The major funder is the Federal Aviation Agency's Airport Improvement Projects via the Michigan Dept. of Transportation. Of the $350,000, local costs of around $8,000 will be split between the city of Gladwin and the county.
Airport manager Mike Hargrave expects the facility to see even more activity now that fuel is once again available. "We get a lot of recreational and business activity," he commented. "But we'll have even more when businesses know they can refuel their aircraft here."
Several businesses in the area have corporate jets that would find it more conducive to land here if they can refuel here as well. Examples are Pamida, Brown Machine, and Family Dollar. St. Gorbain Plastics has been waiting for the system to be up-and-running so they can take advantage of the airport.
Hargrave sees the investment as a community effort and a wise use of federal, county, and city tax dollars. The project looks to the future and the possible business and recreational opportunities it can generate.
Gladwin City Administrator Bob Moffit agrees "This is a great day for us," he said, "and it's going to be great for our businesses and community."