On December 8, 2020, five of us met with mayor Michelle Kaufusi and expressed our concerns with the Development Agreement that had been presented to her by City Council and City Staff on June 16, 2020.
This is our letter:
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December 6, 2020
Dear Mayor Kaufusi
We have been meeting with your staff for over 1 year regarding safety issues at Christensen Oil at 595 S 200 E. Christensen stores 300,000 gallons of oil and gasoline just 6 blocks from downtown Provo.
They built their facility up against pre-existing homes in a residential neighborhood, and close to downtown. We are concerned about fire code and zoning code violations, and while your staff have listened to our concerns, we have not seen any substantial improvements in site safety. We still live with oily odors, and fire risk.
An increase in oil storage warehouses and tanks will degrade the quality of our lives, lower the value of our homes, and put us at higher risk for catastrophic fire and noxious fumes.
Your office is now negotiating a Development Agreement with Christensen. We would ask that you include the following criteria as conditions for any development on site:
1) No net increase in oil and gasoline storage.
2) All existing structures be inspected and brought up to fire and building code relating to the current occupancy. Change of occupancy requires that a building be re-inspected and brought to modern code as if it was new construction.
3) The Fire Marshall enforce the regulations of all operations at Christensen Oil according to the 2018 International Fire Code section 102.2 (which dictates that operations cannot be “grandfathered”).
4) Have a professional inspection by an American Petroleum Institute 653 Certified inspector. (API 653 is industry safety standards for bulk petroleum.
5) Be sure the site is OSHA PSM compliant. This governs petroleum “Process Safety Management.”
6) Install odor control systems on all oil and fuel tanks.
7) Require annual inspections, and have inspection results readily available to the public.
8) Christensen must abide by their 1990 covenant with Provo City to not store combustible materials on land rezoned from R3 to M1.
9) Testing of soil for leaked oil in areas where oil has been stored on gravel in plastic barrels.
10) Phase out older fuel and oil tanks that do not meet current seismic standards.
Thank you, Carolina Allen Kanani Horito Rachel Favero Ted Buehler
We are still persevering to keep Provo City from approving additional oil and gasoline storage at Christensen Oil. And to encourage Provo Fire and Rescue to enforce applicable fire code at Christensen Oil.
Rachel Favero discussed the problems of risk, and how the Christensen site is much more crowded than similar sites on the Wasatch Front.
Ted Buehler discussed the history of exemptions and violations at Christensen Oil, and how that has led to the continued crowding of materials stored there.
Lynne Dixon discussed the American Petroleum Institute’s internal voluntary auditing system, and how Provo City can request that Christensen hire an API certified consultant to assess the storage and transfer or petroleum products at Christensen.
2) We observed a gasoline tanker trailer being loaded at Christensen on May 6, 2021 without using vapor recovery. This means that there is a plume of gasoline vapor being released to the atmosphere as the tanker truck is being filled. They are supposed to use a second hose when transferring gasoline, so that as liquid moves from one tank to the other, the same amount of vapor moves back into the tank being emptied.
This is a fire risk, as a static spark in the plume of gasoline vapor could cause an explosion.
We filed a complaint with Provo Fire and Rescue and with the Utah DEQ. We have not heard back yet whether this was indeed a fuel loading event without vapor recovery, and what might be done to ensure Christensen drivers use vapor recovery in the future.
3. Gates left open at Christensen Oil, yard apparently unattended.
On Friday, May 7, we observed that the gates were open at Christensen Oil, and the yard appeared to be unattended, at 5:30 am. In the past, Christensen would routinely leave their gates open and yard unattended in the evening, but thanks to some encouragement from Provo Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield, Christensen is now better about keeping gates locked in the evening.
The risk is that a vandal, arsonist, or terrorist could enter the yard, release or break the valves on the gasoline tanker trucks, and start a fire that would be difficult to control.
Photo from 5:40 am, Friday May 7th.
4. Next steps.
The “Memorandum of Understanding” (AKA Development Agreement) still sits on Mayor Michelle Kaufusi’s desk.
We have a letter-writing campaign asking people to share their concerns with her.
We ask that you request that she apply all ten concerns of Maeser Neighbors for Safety to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding.
Our top concerns are 1) No expansion of oil storage at Christensen Oil. If they need to store more oil products, they can open a satellite location. 2) All existing structures be brought up to code regarding current occupancy — the North Warehouse was not designed for oil storage, and should not be used to store oil! 3) The Fire Code only offers limited “Grandfathering” of operations and structures build under previous editions of the Fire Code. Please ensure that all operations are governed by the current Fire Code. 4) Have a professional inspection by an API 653 certified inspector. and 6 more.
Contact Mayor Kaufusi at Mayor Kaufusi 351 W Center St Provo UT 84601
The Salt Lake Tribune wrote an in-depth story about the issues we are having with Christensen Oil. Reporter Leia Larsen and photographer Leah Hogsten interviewed us and took photos. They also spoke with Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield.
It was published Monday, Nov 2, on the front page!
The drone footage shows just how close the oil tanks were built to the houses.
Provo Development Director Gary McGinn said it is comparable to living next door to a library. What he fails to recognize, though, is that there is also 200,000 gallons of gasoline on the property! And gasoline will ignite with a spark, and is hard to fight because it flows on the ground. Books don’t ignite so easily, they don’t flow on the ground, and they can be extinguished with water.
Provo Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield once again stated that he does not enforce Fire Code section 102.2-2, which required him to enforce the “operations” of a business to the current fire code, not a historic fire code. “Schofield said facilities only need to be held to the fire codes used the year they were constructed, unless there’s a change in use.” https://up.codes/viewer/utah/ifc-2018/chapter/1/scope-and-administration#1
We have had many discussions with Provo City Council, the Fire Department, and Neighborhood Services.
We are still unsatisfied with many aspects of operations and proposed developments at Christensen Oil.
The following is a walking tour around the perimeter of Christensen Oil, where anybody can walk around the Christensen Oil block and can see our concerns.
Start at the “North Gate”, about 270 E 500 S.
1) North Warehouse 2) Tanks too close to property line
Next stop, “East Gate”, about 590 S 300 E.
3) Plastic barrels of oil too close to property line 4) Plastic barrels stored on gravel, without spill protection. 5) Pallets too close to other stored material
Next stop, South Side, east of main fuel silos
6) View location of proposed oil tanks 7) View location of proposed gasoline tanks 8) Tent, turned into shed, without correct permit
Final stop, race car fueling station, about 525 S 200 E. 9) Tanker trucks parked at property line 10) Gasoline tanker trucks too close to homes (best practices concern) Photos and explanations in the following pages
1) North Warehouse, not suitable for hazardous material storage
The north warehouse was built in stages between 1973 and 1990. It was never intended to be used to store oil.
Christensen Oil purchased the land as residential lots, demolished a house, then petitioned to have the land rezoned as manufacturing.
The Maeser Neighborhood was concerned about expansion of the oil company into the residential parts of the neighborhood, but consented to the rezone with the stipulation that the warehouse not be used to store flammable or combustible liquids. Todd Christensen agreed, and signed a covenant with the city agreeing to never store flammable or combustible liquids in the warehouse.
Our primary issue: * Violated covenant with city. Christensen covenanted to not store oil on this site, now they want to store 200,000 gallons of oil in plastic barrels! This is not a good fit for a residential neighborhood! They should purchase a warehouse in an area suitable for oil storage if they want to store more oil! * Doesn’t meet fire code Fire code requires an update to buildings to meet current building code when the submit a plan for “change of use” (2018 IFC 102.4). Fire Chief Jim Miguel told us there isn’t the political will to require a building code updgrade. Neighborhood Services director Gary McGinn said “We’ll consider it” but was not encouraging in his tone of voice!
Our other issues: * Doesn’t have fire exits. * Too close to property line on west side of building * Too close to oil storage tanks on east side of building.
2) Oil tanks too close to property line.
Look through the gate, you see 18 oil tanks between the warehouse and people’s homes.
The rear three tanks on the left are too close to the property line — 5’ required, they are only 39” from the fence! (per 1997 Uniform Fire Code Table 7902.2-E and 2018 IFC 5704.2.9.1)
The rear three tanks to the south are too close to the storage shed. 5’ required, they only have 18” clearance.
Note that the house in the photo was built in 1890. The oil tanks were built in 1999 — 109 years later.
An oil industry insider remarked I have never seen hydrocarbon stored this close to residences before. in the event of a fire, how would fire department access? seems tight for most apparatus?
3) Plastic barrels of oil stored too close to the property line
Plastic barrels in large quantities are required to be stored 10 feet from the property line. There are over 100 plastic barrels here stored only 5 feet from the property line. And they are next to a private residence, where people live and sleep!
4) Plastic barrels of oil stored without spill protection.
Stored oil is not allowed to be stored where if a tank was punctured, it would leak on the ground. There are over 100 plastic barrels stored here, of 330 gallons each. They sometimes leak, and it goes into the soil/groundwater.
5) Wooden pallets stored too close to other materials.
Up to 50 wooden pallets can be stored within 7.5’ of other stored materials.
51 more more pallets must be at least 15’ from other stored materials.
Christensen usually has between 30 and 90 pallets stored just inside the fence here, close to a wooden-decked semi trailer, with plastic barrels of oil on the other side.
Fire Chief Jim Miguel and Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield have brushed off our concerns, claiming that 2018 IFC 315.7.6 doesn’t apply here.
6) Tent/shed without proper permit.
Look deep up the yard from the south side, you see a shabby “tin shack” with tattered fabric.
This is a fabric “2 car garage tent” that has been covered in sheet metal. It sat for 10 years without a building permit. After we complained, the city granted a permit for the fabric tent, ignoring the sheet metal.
It is used to store lubricating oil.
It has many fire code and building code violations, including * Too close to residential property line to the north * Too close to oil tanks to the north * Used to store combustible liquids (not allowed) * Doesn’t meet International Building Code standards * Doesn’t have emergency exit to north for employees.
If you look carefully, you should be able to see this from the 600 S fence. Very shabby.
7) Proposed new oil tanks
The 14 new oil tanks will go between the “tent/shed” and the tan warehouse.
It’s hard to see from the street, but it’s easy to tell that there is already a lot of stuff back there, and if there was a fire it would be hard for firefighters to safely get in there to put it out.
Several violations, including tank spacing less than 5’ from buildings and tank location more than 150’ from nearest fire lane.
Here is a view from one of our bedroom windows, showing where the 14 new oil storage tanks would go!
8) Proposed new gasoline storage tanks
The city wants to let Christensen add 2 new gasoline storage tanks along 600 S. These could be as big as the tanks to the left — 38’ tall, and holding 30,000 gallons of gasoline!
This is just 130’ from a private home, where people sleep at night.
There is no other location in Utah or in the intermountain west where this much gasoline is stored this close to homes.
9) Gasoline tanker trucks parked overnight close to private homes.
While this is not a code violation, it is against the industry standard. There is no other place in the Intermountain West where you see a fleet of gasoline tanker trucks next to homes.
The problem is that if full gasoline truck catches fire, it will burn for over an hour, with flames 400 feet high.
And if there are other trucks nearby, they will explode.
And empty gasoline tanker trucks can simply explode if they are in a minor mishap that tears off the valves on the side of the truck.
These are also subject to arson and terrorism.
The Fire Department will not respond to us on the details of their emergency plan, such as how many police officers are required to evacuate children and elderly people in the middle of the night from a 3 block radius if there is a fire here!
10. Tanker trucks parked too close to property line.
Every night, Christensen has 7 tanker trucks parked close to the property lines of the 2 houses on 500 S.
They are required by fire code to park 25’ from the property line.
Provo City staff are making a number of claims about the M1 zoning code amendment (passed June 16) and the Christensen Oil Development Agreement (in draft form as of Aug 30, 2020) that we challenge the accuracy of. They include:
Claim 1: “This is not an expansion”
Our response — yes, it is an expansion. Staff are saying that they will replace the outdoor storage of oil in plastic barrels with permanent tank storage and new indoor barrel storage. Yet the current outdoor oil storage is about 40,000 gallons, and the new tank storage will be – 112,000 gallons of oil tanks (14 tanks at 8000 gallons each) – 60,000 gallons of gasoline or diesel fuel storage (2 tanks at 30,000 gallons each) – 389,000 additional gallons of oil in plastic barrels in the existing North Warehouse – 180,000 gallons of oil in plastic barrels in a new East Warehouse. Total: 681,000 gallons of additional oil storage capacity, and 60,000 gallons of fuel capacity.
The development agreement, as shared with city council on the June 16, 2020 vote, has Christensen Oil remove 40,000 gallons of oil storage, but replace it with 681,000 gallons of oil storage and 60,000 gallons of fuel storage.
We think this is AN EXPANSION!
Image above is from Provo City proposed Development Agreement, June 16, 2020. Showing 14 new oil tanks, 2 new fuel tanks, 1 new warehouse, and 1 warehouse converted to oil storage.
Claim 2: Christensen Oil is in zoning compliance with Provo City.
Our response — Christensen Oil signed a development agreement with Provo City in 1990. The agreement rezoned residential land owned by Christensen to “Light Manufacturing,” which was opposed by the neighbors. As part of the compromise with the neighbors, Christensen covenanted that they would never store flammable or combustible liquids on the rezoned land.
As part of the covenant, Christensen agreed to pay the legal costs of the city’s attorneys if Christensen was ever found to be in violation.
Today, they have six oil storage tanks of 12,000 gallons each on the land, that have been there for 20 years now. and 11,000 gallons of oil currently stored in the North Warehouse. And the current development agreement allows conversion of the North Warehouse to store up to 389,000 additional gallons of lubricating oil.
The Maeser Neighborhood, in 1990, supported the rezoning agreement in good faith that Provo City and Christensen Oil would uphold the agreement.
Today, there has been a violation of it for many years, and Provo City is not interested in upholding this past agreement.
Claim 3: There are no fire code violations at Christensen Oil
This is made in writing by Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield at the City Council presentation on June 16, 2020.
Our response — In the fine print of his official responses to neighbors, he states “there are no fire code violations NOTED at Christensen Oil.
In July, 2019, the Maeser Neighborhood submitted 35 pages of complaints, which included at least 75 individual fire code violations. Cited, with photos, from the 2018 International Fire Code, as adopted by the State of Utah.
The Fire Marshal has edged around this claim. Sometimes he has stated that because the business was founded in 1935, that he only needs to enforce the 1935 fire code. Which may be true in specific instances, but most of the Fire Code is not grandfathered — “Operations, Maintenance and Administration” are dictated by the current fire code, not historic fire codes. See our post here https://keepprovosafe.org/2020/08/04/fire-code-retroactively-applies-to-operations/
Clearly, there are many current fire code violations, including: * tanker trucks parked too close to a property line * facility not secure on weekends and evenings * combustible liquids stored too close to property lines * oil storage tanks not maintained in accordance to the code in existence at the time they were built * wooden pallets stored too close to other materials link https://tedbuehler.wordpress.com/2020/08/10/wooden-pallets-at-christensen-oil/?theme_preview=true&iframe=true&frame-nonce=6d5efbcf6d * lubricating oil permanently stored in a parked tanker trailer link July 2019, oil stored in tanker trailer) * blocked fire lanes (link, September 2019, fire lanes blocked) * buildings not built to Building Code standards (link July 2019 “tent” and “shack” * combustible liquids illegally stored next to buildings.
All of these code violations might seem minor in isolation. But all added up mean that a small fire could become very big, very fast. And the entire Christensen facility is located next to homes where people live and sleep, and only 1/2 mile from downtown Provo.
Claim 4: The Fire Chief can use his own judgement to bypass the Fire Code
Our response — yes, there is a process for this, but it must be certified by an engineer, and recorded at the city.
The Fire Code states that it must be followed with precision. And the only way for an exemption is to go through a lengthy process, certified by engineers, that guarantees the public an equivalent level of safety as provided by the code itself.
Claim 5: The fire department can not enforce the fire code to the extent that a business is forced to close, or even downsize, as then the city would get sued and lose.
Our response — There is nothing in the Fire Code that states that there are automatic waivers for a profitable business. The Fire Code simply states that the Fire Code exists for public safety, and all businesses are required to abide by it.
Questions we have never gotten a clear answer from Provo City Staff on — we would invite the media to ask these questions of Provo City Staff:
1) How many gallons of gasoline are stored at Christensen Oil on an average day? How much is in aluminum trucks, and how much in steel tanks?
2) What is the evacuation radius for a catastrophic fire at Christensen Oil? The evacuation radius for a Methanol fire is 1/2 mile (to University Ave and Center St.). What is the evacuation radius for a Methanol fire next to 150,000 gallons of gasoline? It will certainly be larger! See page 196 of the USDOT’s Emergency Response Guidebook https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/ERG2016.pdf
3) How long would it take to evacuate the area if a fire occurred while people are sleeping? How many elderly people and infants live in the evacuation area, and how long would it take to get them all evacuated?
4) If a catastrophic fire occurred (several gasoline tanker trucks catching fire) what is the radius of devastation incurred by the ensuing fire? 1 block? 3 blocks? 5 blocks?
5) Fire Chief Jim Miguel has stated that he can’t enforce the fire code to the extent that it impacts a business’s viability. Where is he getting this mandate from?
6) Why does Christensen Oil’s operation have so much combustible clutter everywhere, and tanks squeezed in between buildings and homes, when the most of the other major bulk petroleum facilities have clean yards, with clear areas around the tanks storing gasoline and oil?
7) Why won’t Provo Fire and Rescue enforce even the most simple, obvious fire code violations, such as wooden pallets stored too close to other materials on site?
8) Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield asserts that it is very difficult to start a tank of oil on fire. Why won’t he consider that a half-full tank is full of a combustible mixture of air and oil vapor, and can catch fire much more easily than a tank completely full of liquid?
9) The “tent” used to store combustible liquids has an open building permit. But city inspectors have not required the sheet metal covering of the tent to be removed, or the combustible liquids stored inside to be removed, per Building Code and Fire Code requirements. Why not? [link to 2019 “tent” complaint]
Christensen stores some plastic barrels of diesel fuel and lubricating oil against one of their warehouses. Usually about 6000 gallons.
This is not allowed in the fire code, which restricts the storage of oil and diesel fuel next to buildings to only 1100 gallons.
The location is on the east side of the “Drum Warehouse” on the center of the property. And only a stone’s throw away from homes where people live and sleep.
This is called a “mixed pile” of material — some is lubricating oil, which is not easily ignited. But some is Class II combustible, which is marked by a diamond with red flames as “1993” hazardous material, and is likely either diesel fuel or kerosene. They can ignite at only 140 degrees farenheight, so if there was something else burning in the vicinity on a hot day when materials in the sun are already 110 degrees, it would catch fire quickly.
This is a violation of IFC 2018 5704.4.2.4, which restricts storage of combustible liquids next to buildings.
5704.4.2.4 says no more than 1100 gallons can be stored next to a building.
There are 18 totes, totaling 5940 gallons of stored combustible liquid. While it is a “mixed pile”, the fire code states that all materials in the pile are treated as the most hazardous material (5704.4.2.1) and, while some are not entirely full, the fire code states that empty or partly empty containers need to be treated just like full containers. (5704.4.8).
We would like to have this pile of totes reduced to only 1100 gallons, or moved 25′ away from the building, as required for Class II combustibles (5704.4.2.4-2, last paragraph, and table 5704.4.2, column 7).
Having combustible liquids, especially easily ignited liquids like diesel fuel, next to a building that also stored combustible liquids is a violation of fire code and therefore a fire hazard. Just a stones throw away are homes where people live and sleep, and should be afforded all of the protections offered by the 2018 Fire Code.
1) IFC 2018 5704.4.2.4 2) IFC 2018 5704.4.2.4-2 3) Photo from April 21, 2020, showing about 15 totes (4950 gallons) of Class II and Class III combustible liquids in a mixed pile 4) Photo presented to Provo City Council by Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield on May 19, 2020 showing about 17 “totes” (5710 gallons) adjacent to the warehouse, in a mixed pile of Class II and Class III combustible liquids. . 5) Photo from August 12, 2020 showing 18 totes (5940 gallons) adjacent to the warehouse in a mixed pile of Class II and Class III combustible liquids. The separation from the warehouse appears to be about 12”.
Christensen Oil has 3 warehouses on the their site at 585 S 200 E.
Two are modern warehouses, specifically built to store lubricating oil. They have sprinkler systems and spill protection systems. They were built between 2008 and 2012.
A third, the North Warehouse, is older, built in 3 stages between 1973 and 1990.
It is about 85 feet square, 7500 square feet.
Public documents describe the events of its construction.
1) in 1973, Christensen Oil President Owen Christensen had purchased a Residential zoned lot adjacent to his Light Manufacturing lot. He then poured a foundation, as if building a warehouse. City staff inspected it, and determined that it was not illegal to pour a foundation. But building a building would require a permit.
The city inspectors returned a few weeks later, and saw that a warehouse had been built, without a permit, on the foundation.
2) In 1990, Christensen Oil wanted to expand the warehouse. And petitioned the city to rezone the land from Residential to Light Manufacturing. The Maeser Neighborhood Association was concerned about expansion of lubricating oil and fuel in the neighborhood, and requested that if the zoning change be approved, that flammable or combustible liquids not be stored on this parcel of land.
The request was granted, and signed by President Todd Christensen in July, 1990.
Visitors on a site tour in Feb, 2020 were shown inside the two newer warehouses, but not the North Warehouse. They were shown the sprinklers and the floor drains that would run spilled oil to an oil/water separator machine.
When asked to see the inside of the North Warehouse, they were told it was like the others.
A few months later, after some querying, the city’s Fire Marshal, Lynn Schofield admitted that the North Warehouse did not have sprinklers.
Later, with further querying, it was demonstrated that the building was constructed for “Occupancy B” which does not allow storage of hazardous materials. And Chief Schofield said that they would be making corrections to ensure that all hazardous materials would be removed from the building.
In the proposed Development Agreement with the City of Provo, the North Warehouse would be upgraded to allow storage of lubricating oil, a combustible liquid.
When “Occupancy” is changed, the building must be brought up to current building code and fire code. This statute is found on Page 1 of the 2018 IFC.
The North Warehouse has problems that make it unsuitable for storage of hazardous material —
1) It is on land that is covenanted to never be used for storage of oil or fuel
2) It is too close to the west property line — just 2 feet away. 5 or 10 feet required.
3) It has oil storage tanks too close to the east wall, just 4 feet away, 5 feet required.
4) It doesn’t have fire exits for employees in the event of a fire. Required.
5) It may not have the required fireproofing in the walls for storing oil.
6) It doesn’t have a spill containment system.
Generally, oil storage and residential homes are separated. Provo’s zoning code has historically separated them. An increase in oil storage is not a good idea in a residential neighborhood.
But, if it is going to be used for oil storage, it should be required to be fully upgraded, as per the terms of the 2018 International Fire Code Section 102.3. No leniency should be granted in a facility that is located next to places where children, adults, elderly people and pets live and sleep.
In July, 2019, Provo’s Maeser Neighborhood complained that many plastic barrels of motor oil were improperly stored, leaking, stored where they could leak, etc.
Resolution: The oil barrels are still on-site, without spill or crash protection. Most of the outstanding violations are still current. Two corrections have been made: the oil barrels stored next to the gasoline silos have been moved, and, the barrels have been moved from 2′ from the property line to 5′ from the property line (10′ separation is required).
The fire department is proposing that Christensen be allowed to convert one existing warehouse, and build another warehouse to rectify this problem. However, that would increase the storage capacity from the current 40,000 gallons to 689,000 gallons!
The fire department is holding the neighborhood hostage on this one — they will not enforce existing fire code, and are requesting that the neighbors approve the proposal to let the violations continue until a massive increase in storage capacity is built.
In recent years, Christensen Oil has begun using a large number of plastic “totes” for storing lubricating oil outdoors. They are about 300 gallons in capacity, and typically have something like “Castrol 5W-30” oil. We are uncertain if this inventory was stored indoors before, or if it is a new line of business for them.
While we like to see businesses doing well, the proliferation of these plastic totes decreases the resale value of our homes, reduces the quality of our lives, and increases the risk of catastrophic fire.
We have see several possible fire code violations with these “totes” by our reading of 5704.4
Outdoor storage of portable tanks
1) Totes stored too close to the property line
2) Totes stored on gravel without spill confinement
3) Totes stored in inappropriate places, like on a bulk oil dispensing station
4) Totes stored too close to combustible material
5) Totes stored without proper crash protection
6) Diesel fuel stored in totes, which are not an appropriate storage vessel.
Please take appropriate measures to keep our neighborhood safe!
These totes are only 24” from the fence Totes against the fence, 554 S 300 E
1 )Totes stored up against property line of 554 S 300 E
About 50 plastic “totes” are stored up against the fence line of the home at 554 S 300 E. IFC Table 5704.2 states that Class III liquids (Lubricating oil) has a “minimum distance to lot line of a property that can be built upon.” of 10 feet. Can you have Christensen Oil move the “totes” of lubricating oil 10′ away from the property line?
50 totes stored without containment pallets Totes in foreground are full
2) Totes are stored on gravel surfaces.
Totes can only be stored on gravel surfaces if they are on approved containment pallets (5704.3). or are on surfaces with secondary containment (5704.4.3 and 5004.2).
As Christensen Oil does not have any available outdoor storage areas with secondary containment, can you have them purchase approved containment pallets and use them with their totes of lubricating oil?
Complaint: Many of Christensen Oil’s operations conducted there are done in a way that is not in compliance with the current fire code.
Utah has adopted the International Fire Code (IFC) as the state fire code. The IFC is published by the International Code Council (ICC), and updated every three years. The ICC also publishes the International Building Code (IBC), International Plumbing Code (IPC) etc. See ICC Codes here.
Most of the ICC’s codes are about construction. Not about maintenance or operations. The Building Code, Plumbing Code, etc. dictate what can be built, and businesses and building owners only need to be concerned about the code when something is being constructed or modified. For instance, a house built in 1990 had to comply with the applicable codes at the time, but the owner of the house does not need to change anything to meet more stringent codes enacted after the building was built. Unless, they want to change something, then the new codes apply to the new construction.
Much of the IFC, however is different. Like the other codes, it has a lot of construction requirements. But it also has operational requirements, maintenance requirements and administrative requirements. And these statues apply retroactively to existing operations.
So, unlike the building code, whenever a new IFC edition comes out, business need to be aware of it, and modify certain aspects of their business to comply with the new code.
The “Operations, maintenance and administration” statute is in the “scope” section, found on Page 1 of the 500 page code book, and thus applies to all operational statues in the code.
The ICC Opinion Desk clarifies that “While typical operational and maintenance provisions of the IFC are intended to be retroactive, construction related provisions are not subject to the applicability provisions in Section 102.1.” (ICC email, Feb 26, 2020)
For instance, operations at a bulk petroleum facility include:
* Where trucks are parked overnight
* Where material is stored in warehouses
* Where trucks parked when transferring gasoline
* How close to property lines materials can be stored
* How much combustible liquid can be stored in a given location
* Whether materials with a fire risk can be stored next to each other, or need to be separated.
This is relevant in the case of Christensen Oil. Many of the operations conducted there are done in a way that is not in compliance with the current fire code.
In the past, Provo Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield would often overlook operations that did not conform to modern fire code.
Recently, our group Maeser Neighbors for Safety, has started making formal complaints about operations that are not in compliance with current fire code, he has begun to enforce some of the apparent violations, while allowing other apparent violations to continue.
We intend to keep making requests that the individual operations at Christensen Oil be brought up to current code.