acid spill may bring new, tighter rules for storage : safety: investigation may lead to new regulations on tanks for chemical solutions. - replacement stainless steel grill grates
Recently, a shabby and cracked fiberglass tank leaked acid, prompting local officials to investigate how to strengthen control of the chemical storage system.
Last week, Brown Pacific leaked about 3,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid from its above-ground storage tank.
A manufacturer of stainless steel and aluminum wire.
Firefighters said most of the acid was controlled by the dam and that in the event of an accident, the company had built the dam around the tank.
But the leak produced a toxic cloud of steam, forcing 2,000 people to evacuate from their nearby homes.
No one was injured.
Investigators from the fire department say the acid penetrates through the cracks in the tank.
Investigators say they believe cracks are the result of weathering and aging.
According to several inspectors from Santa Fe Springs and the Los Angeles Fire Department, the tank was installed at least seven years ago, perhaps as many as 12 years ago.
Brown Pacific officials say they are trying to find out the age of the tank and why it leaked.
Claudia Nagele, vice president of operations, agreed that the hole could be caused by wear and tear.
But another possibility, she said, is that when a truck driver carrying a lot of acid injects too much air into the tank, it suddenly opens.
David Kroenke, a hazardous materials specialist at Santa Fe Hot Springs Fire Department, investigated the accident and the department may come up with a decree prohibiting fiberglass storage tanks or requiring the industry to reinforce fiberglass storage tanks with steel.
The fire department may also set an age limit for tanks and require re-certification every two years, Klunk said.
"Fiberglass is a potential danger.
It is affected by natural wind.
Like on a surfboard or a canoe, it will become brittle and eventually wear out.
According to officials, the city has no record of the age, condition or even number of tanks within its borders.
Fire Captain Robert Wilson estimates there are hundreds of tanks on the ground in Santa Fe Springs.
He said he could not be sure if there was no time --
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Industrial use of above-ground containers to store chemical solutions from harmless cleaning solvents to highly toxic hydrogen and fluorine.
Solutions in different industries must use tanks of different materials.
Glass fibers, for example, are usually used to hold acid from corrosive metals and steel containers.
Underground water tanks have been watched for a long time as their leaks have contaminated the water supply in Santa Fe Springs and other surrounding cities.
However, last week's accident also reminded city officials of the potential danger of storage tanks on the ground.
"If the oil can enter the ground, it will cause environmental harm," said Fire Captain Wilson . ".
A cloud of steam from a leak can create a toxic hazard.
If you walk in the steam cloud, even in an accident the other night, you stay in the steam cloud and your lungs get burned.
"The city already has some regulations in fire regulations that monitor tanks on the ground.
But officials acknowledge that more vigilant enforcement is needed to ensure they are complied.
City officials said four fire department inspectors were very busy and they were unable to ensure that the city's businesses updated their equipment to comply with the regulations.
In fact, until a month ago, there were only two inspectors in the city who were 3,500 different factories and factories.
As a result, Klunk said, "there is always someone falling into the loop.
"The Brown Pacific violated at least one of the city's regulations and the inspectors and company officials agreed.
The company has three tanks of different acids adjacent to each other, in violation of the newly revised urban fire regulations.
Fire and plant officials said that while the tank's proximity did not play any role in last week's incident, there could be a dangerous reaction if the leak was mixed with another solution.
City officials have checked the plant but no such violations have been found, Klunk said.
Nagele of Brown Pacific said the company had never been told to violate the city's fire regulations during inspections in the city.
"They come here a lot," she said . ".
"They didn't tell us if there was a problem.
Nagele also said it was very confusing for the industry to keep up with the latest revisions to the code.
"We don't know what's in the fire code, and if they make a change, we're not going to be told when and what the change is," Nagele said . ".
After last week's accident, the fire department asked Brown Pacific to make several changes to its storage tank system.
Nagele and fire officials said the changes required to make the plant meet the requirements include: * replacement of the broken storage tank to meet current specifications and standards.
* Separate different acid jars to avoid harmful mixing.
* Put a placard of the acid name in each tank on the container.