Coastal Chemical, the North American subsidiary of German company Brenntag, sells chemicals (used in fracking) to the oil and gas industry. Coastal Chemical wants to build a chemical storage facility in Montgomery (Lycoming County), PA, near Williamsport. The facility would house ten tanks, each holding 12,000 gallons of chemicals. The local volunteer fire chief and the local emergency management coordinator are both “strongly opposed” to the project.
Trucks would deliver chemicals to the facility for storage, and later transport those chemicals out, presumably to well sites, possibly to other staging areas.
After hearing of the objections from the local fire chief and EMA coordinator, borough council voted unanimously to have their lawyer send a letter to the state Dept. of Environmental Protection requesting a public hearing on the proposed facility.
A proposed chemical storage facility could put Montgomery in danger if it should leak or catch fire, according to an emergency management coordinator and fire chief. The borough council took action, Wednesday.
The building would be erected by Coastal Chemicals, Based in Los Angeles, California, at 107 Miller Avenue, and would house ten tanks, each holding 12,000 gallons of chemicals. Four would be outside, while another six would be inside, according to Bernie Beegle, a project geologist with Advanced Geo Services.
Coastal Chemicals is using Advanced Geo Services for their contracting services to secure the appropriate permits.
Dennis Gruver, Montgomery Borough emergency management coordinator, said several plans of high importance have not been issued, including: fire suppression, public warning, spill release, area evacuation or security protection. Additionally the location is in the flood plain and next to an active railroad.
“I would like to go on the record as an EMA coordinator as strongly opposed to this site being developed and placed in that location, it can be hazardous to our town and many towns around us,” he said.
A “whole list” of chemicals were provided, he said.
The chemicals would be brought in through trucks, which would then transfer the chemicals to the tanks, Gruver said there are many possibilities for a mistake to happen.
“What they do, these corporations, they like to sneak it into these small communities, where they figure people don’t know what’s going on and it’s there and you don’t get rid of it, or if you do you could have a spill situation and it could be an area you can’t use at all,” said Gruver.
“So beware folks, it’s serious,” he added.
Brad Harding, fire chief of the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Co., agreed with Gruver.
“We don’t have the capabilities as a fire department, whether we put Clinton Township and Montgomery together, If you have one of those go off, you’re going to level this town,” he said.
To put out a chemical fire, said Harding, a special type of foam is required to smother the flame, rather than simple water.
“I want to see business come into this town just like anyone else, and I don’t want to be a debby downer but from an emergency standpoint, or the logistical side it’s bad news,” he said.
By the time other county fire departments arrive to put out the flames, it would be too late, according to Harding.
The borough council voted unanimously to have their solicitor send a letter to the state department of environmental protection. As per regulation, DEP will have a public hearing where citizens and the borough council can request remedial or mitigation plans.
Members present: Lynn Crist, Whitlow Wertz, Fae Herb, Dale Brendle, Susan Andrews, Amber Wilt and Mark Barbier.
The next borough council meeting is scheduled for May 14 at 6:30 p.m.*
The article above incorrectly labels the company as Coastal Chemicals (plural) when it is Chemical (singular). And the article makes no mention of Coastal being a subsidiary of Brenntag. How do we know it is Coastal Chemical, subsidiary of Brenntag?
Two weeks ago Coastal posted the following job notice on the LinkedIn site:
Scroll down just a bit in that job notice, and you will see this:
So Coastal (part of Brenntag) is already looking for truck drivers for the Montgomery facility. Looks to us like they think this is a done deal. To which we say, don’t count your chickens…
*Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette (Apr 11, 2019) – Proposed chemical facility poses dangers
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