Gas storage facility to expand

LIHUE — The Gas Company LLC is gearing up to install 22 new liquid propane gas storage tanks underground at Nawiliwili Harbor, a project that will significantly boost Hawaii Gas customer reserves on the island.

A special use permit and class four zoning permit were granted to The Gas Company LLC for the project during Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.

“The project is a storage facility project for Hawaii Gas customers and what it does is it addresses the current needs of Kauai’s customer base,” said Jeannine Souki, director of government affairs and corporate communications.

Obtaining the permits has been a long process, Souki said, but The Gas Company hopes to begin construction on the $12 million project in 2019. The project should be completed by 2023, barring any delays, she said.

The company currently has a facility, located at Pier 3, for storage of liquid propane gas (LPG).

“It addresses capacity on the island,” she said. “The current facilities based on the use are sufficient to serve the community for up to four weeks, but the facility on Pier 2 would add a few more weeks to that storage capacity.”

The new facility will help ensure resiliency of gas services on Kauai, Souki said.

“The facility on Pier 2 would add a few more weeks (worth of LPG) to that storage capacity and should there be a weather event or potentially a shipping strike — and we have been concerned, at least in the past decade, for shipping strikes — the storage facility would help shore up adequate supplies for the island,” she said.

Currently, The Gas Company has 8,600 customers on Kauai.

Not every customer uses the same amount of gas, she added.

“Ten percent of our customers who are large customers use about 85 percent of our product,” she said.

The site covers two acres off Pier 2 that was previously used as a molasses storage facility by Gay &Robinson.

When the build is completed, it will house 22, 30,000-gallon tanks that can accommodate 25,000 gallons of liquid propane.

“It’s a type of installation that’s consistent with federal and state requirements on how we’re required to store the gas,” Souki said.

An Environmental Assessment was completed last year for the project, and found no significant issues to address. The setbacks for both the front and the rear of the project are 15 feet, she said, per federal and state requirements.

Tanks will be housed in mounds, molded into the ground and filled with sand and gravel.

They’re expected to be 10 to 15 feet over the existing grade, Souki said.

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