Bainbridge Public Safety officers were standing by Monday afternoon as Motiva, the operator of the large oil terminals on Shotwell Street in Bainbridge, maintained some butane storage tanks.
Butane is an organic compound found in natural gas and produced from petroleum. Motiva uses butane as part of a fuel blending process that helps them meet Environmental Protection Agency standards for fuel content.
Each of the butane storage tanks are 104 feet long and weigh 109,000 pounds each.
Motiva is maintaining the butane storage tanks, which sit on the rear of its terminal site, and part of that process involves burning off residual vapors from inside the tanks.
There were two industrial torches set up, fueled by vapors coming through lines connected to the tanks. The smaller torch had a flame several feet tall, while the larger torch had a flame as high as 30-40 feet tall. The larger torch was expected to burn that high for about an hour and a half on Monday.
Motiva employees in safety gear were monitoring the vapor burn-off, and one employee used a Skylift to spray water from a hose over the ground underneath the torches. That was done to prevent the grass, already turning brown from the residual heat given off by the flames, from catching on fire, according to BPS Fire Chief Doyle Welch.
Several BPS officers were also standing by as a safety precaution and they brought two fire trucks with them to be used if needed.
Bainbridge terminals are a busy place
More information on the Bainbridge oil terminals from Motiva:
Motiva Enterprises is a leading refiner, distributor and marketer of fuels in the Eastern, Southern, and Gulf Coast regions of the United States.
The Bainbridge Terminal is a refined petroleum product distributor. The Bainbridge Terminal is an onshore, light products, bulk petroleum storage terminal used in the storage and distribution of petroleum products to retail and commercial end-users in the vicinity of Bainbridge, GA. The Terminal handles and stores various grades of unleaded gasoline, low-sulfur diesel, butane, ethanol, and various other petroleum based additives.
The Bainbridge Terminal is committed to operating and maintaining processes in a safe, reliable and environmentally sound manner. Motiva believes that excellent performance in health, safety, and the environment goes hand in hand with operating reliably, and that outstanding EHS performance is of paramount importance.
The Bainbridge Terminal is designed, operated and maintained in a manner that protects the environment, as well as the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the community. Motiva promotes health, safety, and the environment through programs of awareness, compliance, prevention and protection. These programs include a combination of accidental release prevention and emergency response planning.
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