Accident: Allied Terminals Fertilizer Tank Collapse
Location: Location: Chesapeake, VA
Accident Occurred On: 11/11/2008 | Final Report Released On: 05/26/2009
Accident Type: Community Impact
Investigation Status: The CSB released its final report at a news conference in Chesapeake, VA on 5/27/2009
On November 12, 2008 a two-million-gallon liquid fertilizer storage tank collapsed at the Allied Terminal distribution facility in Chesapeake, VA. The incident critically injured two contract workers, who were hospitalized. Two members of the public who tried to aid the injured men required treatment likely related to exposure to ammonia vapor from the released fertilizer. The fertilizer over topped a containment dike and flooded sections of a nearby residential neighborhood. At least 200,000 gallons of spilled fertilizer could not be accounted for, and some reached the nearby Elizabeth River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Take immediate action to reduce the risk of a catastrophic failure of Tanks 202, 205, and 209 at the Allied Terminals Hill Street facility including but not limited to significantly reducing the maximum liquid levels ("safe fill height") based on sound engineering principles. Report the actions taken to the City of Chesapeake.
Select and retain a qualified, independent tank engineering firm to evaluate Tanks 202, 205, and 209 and determine their fitness for continued service. The evaluation should be based on recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, such as API 653 - Tank Inspection, Repair Alteration, and Reconstruction and API 579 - Fitness for Service.
Within 30 days, provide the report prepared by the independent tank engineering firm to the City of Chesapeake, together with a comprehensive action plan and schedule to address any identified deficiencies.
Hire a qualified independent reviewer to verify that maximum liquid levels for all tanks at Allied’s Norfolk and Chesapeake terminals meet the requirements of American Petroleum Institute Standard 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction. At a minimum, the review should verify that all requirements for welding, inspection of welds, and In-Service and Out-of-Service tank inspections are met. Make the complete review report for both terminals available to the Cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth, Virginia, as well as the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Develop and implement worker safety procedures for initial filling of tanks following major modification or change-in-service. At a minimum, require the exclusion of all personnel from secondary containment during the initial filling.
Revise and reissue the Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office Rupture Hazard from Liquid Storage Tanks Chemical Safety Alert. At a minimum, revise the alert to: 1) Include the Allied Terminals tank failure, 2) Discuss the increased rupture hazard during first fill or hydrostatic testing, and 3) List The Fertilizer Institute fertilizer tank inspection guidelines in the reference section.
Formally recommend to all member companies the incorporation of The Fertilizer Institute tank inspection guidelines into contracts for the storage of liquid fertilizer at terminals.
Require state regulation of 100,000-gallon and larger fertilizer storage tanks (which presently are located solely along and in the area of the Elizabeth River) or authorize local jurisdictions to regulate these tanks. The regulations should: 1) Address design, construction, maintenance, and inspection of 100,000-gallon and larger liquid fertilizer storage tanks, and 2) Incorporate generally recognized and accepted good engineering practice.
Implement The Fertilizer Institute’s inspection guidelines as part of tank inspector training and inspection procedures for fertilizer tank inspection.
Revise company procedures to require tank inspectors to verify that radiography required as part of the calculation for a maximum liquid level has been performed.