Balto Ind. Inc. - Executive Summary
Balto Industries is a small business with two full-time employees. Our commitment to safety is exhibited by over thirty years of continuous business without an offsite accident. Our safety procedures are time-proven methods of industry standards along with experienced operators. |
The site itself is roughly one acre in size, with an office in front with a storage shed directly behind.
The ammonia tank is situated in the northwest corner of the property and is protected on the back by a fence. The south side of the tank is protected by the close proximity of the storage shed. The front is protected by a cement slab that is bermed on the edges. The north side of the tank is open and all bulk deliveries are made in this area. This area of the tank is protected by an I-beam skid which runs the entire length of the tank.
The storage tank is a 12,000 gallon ammonia tank with an attached corken compressor.
Balto's business is ammonia distribution. (To oversimplify, we receive a bulk
load of ammonia, approximately 39,000 pounds, then disperse that around Colorado in various amounts, in bulk and cylinders.)
Balto's business is primarily distribution. All of our ammonia is used industrially, with the bulk of it used for refrigeration. I must add now that ammonia was the first successful refrigerant and because of that, safety has had the benefit of well over a hundred and fifty years of tried and true handling procedures.
The ammonia is transferred from a storage vessel (12,000 gallons), to either a smaller vessel (500 gallons), or cylinders, "not unlike a propane cylinder." That smaller vessel, "mounted on a one-ton truck," then leaves the property and delivers the product to various customers. The cylinders are delivered as well.
The transfer of ammonia is accomplished through ammonia hoses with the aid of a compressor. The cylinders are filled through the same hoses but with the aid of a pump. The cylinders are then stored under a shed.
We have planned f
or and have coordinated with local responders to adequately respond to accidental releases that we perceive may happen from a simple hose break to the release of the single largest tank.
The second scenario, "a more realistic accident," involved the failure of a hose during a routine transfer. The one-inch diameter hose is twenty-feet long and holds approximately ten pounds of ammonia. The hose ruptures due to either a drive away, "a truck driving off while the hoses are still hooked up," or a hose rupture. As soon as the hose ruptures, one of the built-in safety features activates, "the excess flow," and the leak is isolated to the volume of the hose. The ten pounds of ammonia vaporizes and produces a cloud which covers an area of .13 miles or approximately 230 yards or 115 yards from the center.
In the worst case, the fire department would be called and the immediate area would be evacuated and isolated until the cloud dispersed. The second scenario would not have offsite imp
act and would be isolated by turning off valves and repairing the ruptured hose.
By anticipating accidents, the majority can be avoided. Many of the safety procedures of the industry require the replacement of hoses, "every five years." This is the weakest link in the chain and by replacing hoses every five years, the strength and safety is assured. Most of our valves are used everyday and are under constant scrutiny. If there is a problem, it is fixed. The excess flow valves, "which are internal," are checked by opening a valve quickly which approximates a ruptured hose.
Balto only has two full-time employees and they have been in business, doing this very same thing since 1969, and I am proud to say, without an offsite accident.
Our response program consists mostly of isolating our facility and notifying fire department and other local emergency responders. With only two emloyees, who have worked together for nearly twenty-five years, the on-the-job experience in hand with s
afety classes and various safety writings, make for a safe combination.
In any business, flexibility is success and we are no exception. Everyday we strive to be more productive by using better, newer and safer equipment.
Maintenance of all our facilities are scheduled and, as time allows, the work is done.
Safety should be paramount when dealing with any hazardous material and when that is understood and agreed on, the result is a safe, successful business.