Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities

SaskatoonSaskatchewan, 2014-6-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — Along with increasing the storage capacity and the efficiency of the distribution network, Co-op’s new corporate bulk plant (CBP) program is setting new standards for environmental, safety and security features.

“They’re more efficient facilities, they’re more environmentally responsible and they’re more secure and safe for operation,” said Kris Bradshaw, petroleum operations and development manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited.

Bradshaw said the bulk plants currently in operation under the old standards remain industry-leading facilities, but are “not up to the standards we want to see.” The 23 bulk fuel plants already constructed, and the 52 more to be constructed in the next five years, have standards anticipating future requirements.

Storage and containment systems

The larger 147,700-litre tanks are set above ground and have two bottoms separated by a space with vacuum monitoring to provide an early identification if failure in either of the two tank bottom layers were to occur.  Additionally, the new tanks are constructed with a bottom manway, which allows access for internal inspection and repair of the tank bottoms if required in the future.

Tanks are placed in a secondary containment dyke lined with a synthetic, hydrocarbon-resistant liner that provides the secondary containment. A second liner membrane is set below the primary liner allowing monitoring capabilities between the liners to warn of any leaks in the secondary containment system.  This essentially provides a tertiary level of containment.

“These redundant layers of containment allow us to evaluate, identify and repair a potential problem with our containment systems prior to having a physical release” said Bradshaw. “So if we were to have a tank leak or a line leak within that containment berm, we are confident that the containment system is fully functional.”

Previous containment involved a single-bottom tank set in a containment dyke with a geo-synthetic clay liner system. This style of liner system was the best available product when the standards for our last round of bulk plants were constructed 20 years ago and FCL has now adjusted again to the best available industry standard.

Another environmental measure in place is in the receiving and load out areas. In the event of spills in the fuel transfer areas, the graded concrete pad helps direct the drainage into a catch basin, which is tied to an underground oil-water separator. The oil-water separator enhances the separation of petroleum products from the water, retaining the petroleum within the separator tank and allowing the clean water to discharge to the storm water system.  The petroleum product can then be recovered and removed from the separator tank for proper disposal.

Safety and security

The new bulk fuel facilities are enclosed within fenced compounds and the entire site is monitored by network of security cameras. The sites are well-lit for operational safety for both Co-op employees and Co-op customers, while causing minimal to no disruption to passing motorists or the use of neighbouring properties.

In the past, bulk plants used a top loading system to fill delivery trucks. Drivers were required to wear respiratory protection to prevent exposure to fuel vapours, there was potential for falls and there was increased risk of overfills and spills as a result of potential undue attention.  The new facilities are equipped with bottom loading and automatic shut-off systems.  Drivers will now be able to safely load from the ground level and fill multiple compartments at the same time and at faster individual rates – 2,200 litres per minute compared to 500 litres per minute previously.

“(Drivers are) on the ground and not climbing on top of the truck,” Bradshaw explained. “Another advantage is we have decreased our loading time from an average of 40 minutes before to about 10 minutes now.”

These are just a few of the features that ensure the Co-op maintains its social and environmental responsibility to employees, member-owners and communities. These features, along with continued improvements to training and operational procedures, will help the CRS remain the industry leader for safe, responsible bulk fuel operations, providing quality service to customers.

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Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities

Co-op sets new standards for environmental, safety and security features with its new bulk fuel facilities