Suggested Lansing Propane Storage Fuel Concerns Lansing
On March 22nd, the Lansing City Planning Authority continued discussions on the proposed Mirabito Propane / Petroleum Storage and Distribution on Town Barn Road.
There is already a propane tank on the property, but Mirabito is planning to build three 30,000-gallon bulk petroleum tanks. There were also plans to add a second propane tank, although Mirabito has now withdrawn that addition.
However, the existing propane tank and the proposed oil tanks were criticized many times by both local residents and the planning authorities. At a meeting in February, two parishioners raised safety concerns about the tanks’ proximity to surrounding homes.
At this week’s meeting with the area-based Deb Harper, there were very similar concerns that she was concerned about the safety of tanks and the speed of development.
Another resident, Ruth Hopkins, who was unable to attend the meeting but wrote a letter to be read during the meeting, was concerned about the increase in tankers in the area.
“A greatly increased number of tankers increases the likelihood of vehicle accidents involving flammable materials,” wrote Harper. “The worst danger associated with regional propane centers is truck accidents.”
She also asked why the city did not move these facilities further away from residential areas.
Local resident Joe Williams brought up the fact that many children are playing outside in the town’s barn fields, which are near the tanks. Nor was he convinced that improvements could ensure safety.
“I have a feeling you can plan the best, but once it is used the problems arise,” said Williams. “While I appreciate all of the planning, I know from experience that things can be planned well and then go wrong.”
Board member Larry Sharpsteen was also skeptical of Mirabito’s security plans.
“My whole concern is that I think they are handling the whole idea of security in a rather light-hearted way,” he said. “We are the ones who have residents who would be damaged or killed by problems that arise there, and believe me, a 12 foot fence will not hold back a burning gasoline flow or the shock wave of an exploding propane tank. “
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Brad George, chief of the Lansing Fire Department, was less concerned when he found out that a second propane tank would not be added. At the February meeting, George proposed a flood system that would use the municipal water supply to put out early-stage fires should they occur. He no longer considered this necessary.
“The main reason for the flood system was the extra propane tank,” said George. “That would have been the main focus of this flood system, not necessarily the oil, because we wouldn’t necessarily be using water to fight an oil fire.”
Tim DeRuyscher, a fire protection engineer whose expertise was used by the planning board, saw things differently.
“It’s different from what the boss said, but lest we forget that these are petroleum products … we’re talking about flammable and flammable and flammable liquids of classes 1 and 2 and possibly class 3,” DeRuyscher said. “So the tank itself, while it is built in a standard tank with steel walls. This has nothing to do with exposure to fire or heat, which may or may not occur. So I would say there are concerns. “
Sharpsteen wasn’t convinced either. “I’m not really reassured that there is only one 30,000 gallon tank that cannot be cooled in case there is a problem with the safety valve,” he said.
He expressed his support for a flood system, saying, “It would be worthwhile because we are protecting people who live at 600 or 700 feet of this facility.”
DeRuyscher agreed that a flood system could be a possible solution to this problem.
There were minor concerns about the height of the fence around the current propane tank and the glare from an LED light illuminating a propane tank. Currently the fence height is six feet and does not completely block the propane tank. The planning board wanted a height of 12 feet.
Regarding the lighting, several residents had expressed their annoyance at the current light above the propane tank, which reflected an annoying view into their homes at night. Wanye Matteson, speaking on Mirabito’s behalf, said it was possible to change the type of lighting, although he did not express any urgency on the matter.
The planning board noted that these matters were not part of the resolution for the meeting and it was decided that these issues could be discussed at future meetings.