Lake group: Inergy report is incomplete
READING—A quantitative risk analysis by an Oklahoma firm says Inergy Midstream’s proposed liquid gas storage and transfer station in Reading is no more dangerous than other, similar facilities.
Inergy wants to build a $40 million facility in Reading, on the west side of Seneca Lake. The project is being reviewed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The QRA was done in February by Quest Consultants Inc. However, Inergy wanted the DEC to keep the analysis confidential. The state disagreed, saying it should be public.
The 66-page QRA concludes that “the hazards and risk associated with the Finger Lakes LPG facility are similar to those from LPG storage, transport and processing facilities worldwide.” It adds the risks are “not unusual for industrial activities handling flammable materials.”
Seneca Lake Pure Waters wrote a letter to the DEC in response to the QRA. The group said that the document makes no mention of the brine storage ponds or potential environmental risks to the lake and wetlands in case of a brine pond failure. SLPWA adds that the assessment does not consider the fact these underground salt caverns are directly adjacent to Seneca Lake. The group said the unique factors of this project should be addressed.
The QRA lists several areas of possible catastrophic failures, based on previous accidents. One mentioned accident is a boiling liquid vapor explosion (BLEVE) of pressurized tank trucks, rail cars or storage tanks. One other is a liquid petroleum gas cavern failure.
The one explosion of a pressurized railcar the document talks about was from Kingman, Ariz., in 1973. The accident happened as propane was being transferred from a railroad car to the storage tank. Three BLEVE accidents are listed from pressurized truck tanks, from 1972, 1977, and 2007. The most recent was an explosion in Tacoma, Wash.
Jeff Marx, engineer for Quest, said no other specific facilities were researched in this analysis. He said they based their evaluation on previous knowledge of truck loading, railroad transfer, cavern storage, etc.
The document also calculates the likelihood of accidents and the chance of death. According to Quest, the vulnerability zone for a flammable vapor cloud at the Route 14A portion is a roughly circular area, 600 feet in diameter. That overlaps with Route 14A to the north and the railroad tracks that run to the west. The QRA estimates the actual hazard area would be a 400 foot area between the loading area and Route 14A.
Quest added that if the liquid line were to rupture during cavern injection mode, and the release is horizontal, and the wind is coming from the southwest at a low speed, and the vapor cloud does not ignite immediately, the flammable vapor cloud has a one in 204,000,000 per year chance of forming that way.
The document said there are only two areas outside the facility boundary where a person has a risk level greater than a one chance in 10,000 of being killed per year. One area is uninhabited and the other owned by an LPG trucking company.