Aviation fuel spill did not contaminate water supply at base in Japan, Navy says
Stars and Stripes May 26, 2023
TOKYO — A Navy air station southwest of Tokyo found no contamination of its water supply after thousands of gallons of aviation fuel spilled from storage tanks Wednesday, according to Navy and Japanese officials.
JP-5 aviation fuel spilled into the Tate River, which runs through Naval Air Facility Atsugi, but it had dissipated by Thursday and no further contamination was reported, according to a news release that day from neighboring Ayase city.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we had the water in our wells tested,” base spokesman Greg Mitchell said by email Friday. “The results came back today, with no indication of any fuel constituents."
The base fire department responded to the spill around 3:10 a.m. Wednesday, Mitchell said Thursday.
The South Kanto Defense Bureau told the city 2,400 gallons of fuel spilled but the amount that flowed off base is unknown, according to the Ayase city.
Ayase Mayor Masayoshi Koshio met with NAF Atsugi commander Capt. Manning Montagnet at the base and asked him to quickly collect and manage the spilled fuel, make efforts to identify the cause, take preventative measures and provide further information, according to the city.
Montagnet told Koshio that "the Navy deeply regrets" the incident and "is very sorry to have caused uncertainty and concern to the local residents," the city said.
The cause of the spill is under investigation, Montagnet told the mayor, according to the city. The commander promised to provide information as it becomes available and take preventative measures.
NAF Atsugi until 2018 was home to Carrier Air Wing 5, which deploys aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier stationed at nearby Yokosuka Naval Base. Those aircraft are now based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, hundreds of miles to the south in Yamaguchi prefecture.
NAF Atsugi is still home to several Navy helicopter squadrons and 10,000 personnel made up of U.S. and Japanese service members, civilian employees and family members, according to its website.