Coastal Chemical storage tank facility signed lease several months ago
MONTGOMERY – On Tuesday, June 4th at 7 p.m. Montgomery residents had an opportunity to meet with officials representing Coastal Chemical, a company that is planning on expanding a facility at 107 Miller Ave. to house 10 tanks, each holding 12,000 gallons of chemicals. Six of the tanks will be constructed outside of the building according to DEP. Tanks will hold chemicals such as base oil, lubricating greases, motor oil, metal processing fluids, additives, ethylene glycol, methanol and triethylene glycol.
A 5 year commitment lease was signed in December of 2018 wtih Moran Industries of Watsontown according to Mike Grotfend, Regional Operations Manager for Coastal Chemical.
Vice President of Operations, Clay Wade related the history of the company, founded in 1958 in Louisianna and now based in Texas. “We are the largest chemical distributor in the world,” he said.
A power point presentation was given to about 100 people before a question and answer session concluded after 9 p.m.
Coastal Chemical Co. is a subsidiary of Brenntag, a global chemical distributor whose industrial products of more than 10,000 vary from food, rubber, textiles, agriculture, mining, pharmaceuticals, plastics, diesel fuels and water additives. “We (Coastal Chemical) emerged as a leader in the oil and gas industry,” said Wade. With an industrial certification they can deliver and store a broad base of chemicals such as lubrication oil for drilling rigs, compressors, gas plants and transmission pipelines.
Ten of the storage tanks will be stored in Montgomery. The proposed facility will require permits and 8 of the 10 tanks are considered regulated under the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. DEP announced the two triethylene glycol tanks are not subject to their requirements because “it is not a regulated substance as defined by the Storage Tank Act.”
DEP said installation and operating permits are required for the proposed project. An industrial stormwater permit also is required.
According to Wade, one of the tanks, the one carrying methanol, will be hazardous and part of phase two. The tank will be stored outside the building and mounted on a concrete pad. “We will have six 12,000 gallon tanks to start,” he continued. “I never saw them fail. Our safety performance record is taken very seriously. There will be no blending of chemicals here.” They will be transporting antifreeze, a lubricant coolant.
Phase one will include 5 tanks of motor oil and lubricants for machinery. Tanks are designed to provide a safe solution to the storage of petroleum products. A security system will be installed with cameras and vapor recovery systems according to Wade.
The company is in the process of acquiring permits under the Spill Prevention Response Plan to DEP along with procedures for preventing a spill or release. This includes notifying the Montgomery Borough and “predetermined water users within 20 downstream miles that might be affected by a release.” Notification also has to be given to local emergency responders.
Montgomery will be the 34th facility for Coastal Chemical in the United States with two more proposed, one in Little Rock, Arkansas and the other in North Dakota. “Why Montgomery?” asked a resident. “Why are you coming here? Methanol is a terrible chemical.”
To his reply they said after a two year search, they settled on Montgomery due to its central location to a major customer and the draw of the Marcellus Shale.
Superintendent Daphne Bowers spoke of safety concerns near a school and children who walk in the designated location. She asked for a confirmation that the drivers not make deliveries during times when children are being picked up and dropped off at school. No property taxes will benefit the school.
Wade said there will be two drivers and a manager who will be moving here. One local driver will be hired, and “as business grows, we may hire more.” Another resident questioned property values. The area, the former site of Montgomery Mills, is zoned for commercial and industrial use.
Truck traffic was another concern. There will be 3 trucks operating with a load in the morning and returning in the afternoon. The tanks will be pumped from inside the building. “What are the resources for local emergency responders?” asked Ed Beard, Jr. Local emergency responders will need training and assistance and have a plan in case of a leak or fire. “We are all at a risk here.”
A sub-contractor, Cura Emergency Services, will be on board in case of a future spill, they assured. However, that company is two hours away. “Meanwhile, can our fire department handle a large scale spill?” They will be the first responders from this community.
Another asked about the flood zone and the close proximity to the river. Althought not a 24 hour operation, Wade said electronic signals will be installed if there is a leak and an alarm system.
In general, residents who attended were displeased and spoke against more lights, more trucks, more noise, chemical pollution, and no job opportunities. “Montgomery gets nothing from this!” said Linda and Bill Warfel. “No photos were shown of what these tanks look like.”
“At this point, no emergency plan is in place.” An open house is being planned for the public to come and walk through the facility.
“This is a done deal,” Gary Steele said and pointed to each speaker asking them if they lived anywhere near a chemical facility. Each of the 6 speakers all said “no” and Steele turned to the audience and said, “But we will,” and exited the high school auditorium where the meeting was held.
A copy of the permit application is available for review at DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office, 208 W. Third St., Williamsport.