City of Alexandria, Virginia
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Norfolk Southern

Hon. John Warner
U.S. Senate
225 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

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Alexandria, VA 22314

This page contains references and links to all electronic communications among City staff, and between City staff, Norfolk Southern, and the community regarding the establishment and operation of the Ethanol Transloading Facility. The communications, furnished in response to requests made under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, cover the period from June 20, 2006 at 8 a.m. to May 29, 2008, at 5 p.m.

E-mail addresses and telephone numbers have been redacted to protect the privacy of residents and of City staff whose home and mobile phone numbers were included on the communications. To contact City officials or staff, please use the links on the left side of this page, or Contact Us.

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Re: morning meeting

  • To: Adam Thiel
  • Subject: Re: morning meeting
  • From: Robert Rodriguez/Alex
  • Date: 29 Apr 2008 11:54:26
  • Bcc:
  • Cc: John Catlett


Staff completed the survey on April 28.  Here is what they found:

The bulk of the specific requirements for compliance come from section 3406 of the Fire Code.  Generally speaking, the facility is in compliance with the code. It is properly fenced and marked. There are a minimum of two attendants on site during the operation. The Rail cars are brought into a trans-loading area within Norfolk Southern's Rail yard and secured within a diked area which is fenced in. The Rail cars are unloaded from the bottom and pumped through an Ethanol Transfer System which is designed for Class 1 Division 2 atmospheres per the NEC requirements and the requirements of table 3403.1.1 of the Fire Code. The product is then pumped into tanker trucks using a dry disconnect fitting in compliance with section 3406. The Ethanol Transfer system has a built in shutoff control to prevent overfill and it has a bond and ground monitoring system.  According to the facility manager the rails are themselves grounded to comply with section 3406.5.1.7 of the fire code. Staff has asked for grounding details to be provided for review.
Secondary containment is in place for the facility.  However, it is unclear whether the containment provides sufficient capacity for all of the potential product being stored within the area.  Staff has asked for the terminal manager to provide specifics regarding this item.
The front gate has been provided with Knox Box locks and keys which provide suppression units with access to the roughly 1500 gallons of provided foam in a trailer by the front gate.  Fire Hydrants have been installed along the west side of the tracks.  These hydrants have not been flushed and or finalized by our department.  Staff is working to schedule this as soon as possible with our FPS unit.  There are also eyewash stations located throughout the facility and a Hazard Communication program in place. MSDS sheets for the foam have not been included and have been requested. A comprehensive Fire Safety and Evacuation plan is under development per section 404 of the Fire Code and must be reviewed and approved by this office.
Staff is working with Mr. Tony Rosenthal of RSI logistics to provide a fully comprehensive list and review of the facility.


Robert B. Rodriguez
Chief Fire Marshal
Alexandria Fire Department / Code Enforcement
301 King Street, Room 4200
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Office  xxx-xxx-xxxx
Direct xxx-xxx-xxxx ext. 118
Fax     xxx-xxx-xxxx

Adam Thiel/Alex

04/25/2008 08:17 PM

John Catlett/Alex@Alex
Robert Rodriguez/Alex@Alex
Re: morning meetingLink

OK...Chief North said the containment pit is located under the entire unloading track...just FYI.

Please let me know ASAP regarding any FPC issues.



    ----- Original Message -----

    From: John Catlett
    Sent: 04/25/2008 04:12 PM EDT
    To: Adam Thiel
    Cc: Robert Rodriguez@Alex@Alex
    Subject: Re: morning meeting


I contacted Chief Rodriguez after the morning meeting and conveyed the information regarding the operation and tank capacity (20 car capacity, 29,000 gallons per car).  He will get a staff member on the code issues, but we agreed that this would be on a "survey" basis at this point.  Since I will be out until Wednesday, I have asked him to communicate findings directly to both you and I so that the appropriate response can be generated in a timely manner.  My direction was to identify what would be needed from the Fire Prevention Code to issue a Fire Prevention Permit.

Information should be coming forward shortly.

John D. Catlett, MCP
Code Enforcement Director
Alexandria Fire Department
301 King Street, Room 4200
Alexandria, Virginia  22314

Office: xxx-xxx-xxxx, Ext. 110
Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxx

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
John D. Rockefeller