Louisiana regulators set new rules for oil field tank batteries after an explosion killed a 14-year-old girl, and plan to identify all of these storage tanks across the state to encourage the compliance.
The state’s Natural Resources Department cited the February death of Zalee Day-Smith when announcing security measures last week. The lawyer reported that State Police investigators believed she was sitting on a tank near her mother’s house in the rural community of Ragley when it blew up, tossing her into the air and leaving her killing.
“We may never know exactly what happened at this site when Zalee passed away and accidents of this type may be rare, but we must do what we can to minimize the chances of it happening again by doing more to make people aware of the potential dangers. and keep them away from those sites if they don’t belong there, ”Conservation Commissioner Richard Ieyoub said in a press release.
Tank batteries store oil wells that are not connected to major pipelines. They can contain hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil and can emit flammable fumes.
The new rules require operators to surround sites with fences at least 1.2 meters high, with a gate that is locked when the sites are unattended. Tank hatches should be securely sealed when unmanned, unless they are part of a pressure relief system, and signs should indicate tank hazards.
These regulations apply to sites located within 500 feet (152 meters) of a freeway or home, 1,000 feet (304 meters) from a school or church, or anywhere within the limits of a city, town or village.
Tank batteries were previously “treated like another part of a well site,” the Natural Resources Department said, so they weren’t individually identified. The Office of Conservation is working to compile a list of all tank battery sites in Louisiana, which has never been done before.
A 2011 report from the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board highlighted the dangers of not having warning signs and fencing at storage facilities. He noted that 44 people were killed and 25 were injured in 26 explosions from 1983-2010.
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