This Web site chronicles the City of Alexandria’s actions regarding the Norfolk Southern Corporation’s Ethanol Transloading Facility, which began operation in April 2008. The facility is located at the former Norfolk Southern intermodal terminal in the City’s West End.
Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol that has been produced from crops such as corn, wheat, and barley. Because it is domestically produced, it reduces our dependence on foreign fuel sources. Naturally high-octane ethanol contains more oxygen, so it burns cleaner than gasoline and reduces carbon monoxide emissions. Most gasoline-powered vehicles can run on a blend consisting of gasoline and up to 10% ethanol. More about ethanol >>
- Norfolk Southern Requests VDEQ Exemption at the Ethanol Transloading Facility
On September 5, the City concurrently received calls from Norfolk Southern (NS) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) informing the City that VDEQ informed NS that the transloading facility may fall within an exemption category of the air permitting requirements. NS followed up on this preliminary assessment and subsequently sent VDEQ a letter to request a determination by VDEQ on whether the exemption is applicable . This exemption request is based on the calculated vapor pressure of ethanol in the tank cars being below the permitting threshold. NS previously applied for an air permit seeking the expansion of transloading operations. VDEQ is currently evaluating this exemption request. City staff continues to review and meet with VDEQ as this issue unfolds. Based on the discussions with VDEQ staff, they have committed to hold a public information meeting (with a date to be determined) regardless of their evaluation of the Norfolk Southern request.. Please see the attached letter from Norfolk Southern requesting the VDEQ Exemption.
- August 20, 2013 Meeting with Norfolk Southern Representatives and Tour of Ethanol Transloading Facility
On August 20, 2013, City senior management, including City Manager Rashad M. Young, Transportation & Environmental Services Director Richard Baier, and the City’s Office of Environmental Quality staff toured the Norfolk Southern ethanol transloading facility. They met with the company’s representatives to discuss ways to minimize the transloading facility’s impact on the quality of life in nearby communities, and better inform the public about progress toward achieving this goal. More info >>
- Norfolk Southern Seeks Permit to Increase Rail Cars at Ethanol Transloading Facility
The City of Alexandria received information from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) on Friday, May 3, regarding a Norfolk Southern proposal and permit request seeking to increase the number of rail cars containing ethanol offloaded at its transloading facility from the current 14 cars to 30 cars per day. The facility was previously exempted from VDEQ’s air permitting requirements. However, increased emissions resulting from expanded operations triggered the need for an air permit. More info >>
- September 2012 Ethanol Spill
On September 4, 2012, at 4:30 p.m., approximately 150 gallons of ethanol spilled at the transloading facility. According to Norfolk Southern, the spill occurred when ethanol was being transferred from a rail car to a tanker truck, and the truck was overfilled. The overfill protection system activated, and the spill was contained by employees at the facility. There were no injuries and no contamination to the surrounding area. Railroad officials notified the National Response Center, which notified the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, which notified the Alexandria Fire Department. City officials are following up with Norfolk Southern management regarding their failure to immediately notify the Alexandria Fire Department of the spill. Alexandria City Manager Rashad Young issued a memo to Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille and the Alexandria City Council outlining the timeline of the incident on September 4, 2012.
- Community Notice: Norfolk Southern Begins Used Oil Transfer Operations