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Hon. John Warner
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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: Fw: Ethanol Transfer Station at the Piggy Back Railyard on Metro Road

We recently became aware of this and met with them a couple of weeks ago.  We requested they contact ops for an orientation.   They have also offered to have staff tour a similar facility in Baltimore which we thought should be a joint trip between Code and Ops.
As far as permits or plans, this is railroad property and is exempt from local regulation.  They are installing additional hydrants and foam for Fire Department use.  We were preparing to contact you about this.
Attached is a brief that AFM Furr prepared.

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

Office  (703) 838-4360
Direct (703) 519-3300 ext. 118
Fax     (703) 838-3880

-----Russell Middleton/Alex wrote: -----

To: John Catlett/Alex@Alex, Robert Rodriguez/Alex@Alex
From: Russell Middleton/Alex
Date: 11/29/2007 02:58PM
Subject: Fw: Ethanol Transfer Station at the Piggy Back Railyard on Metro Road

Is anyone on your staff aware of an ethanol transfer station on Metro Road? Please advise. (see below).
----- Forwarded by Russell Middleton/Alex  on 11/29/2007 02:56 PM  -----

          Michael Farri/Alex  

          11/23/2007 01:39 PM


Russell Middleton/Alex@Alex, Adam Thiel/Alex@Alex



Fw: Ethanol Transfer Station at the Piggy Back Railyard on Metro Road
FYI ..... Fairfax companies brought this to our attention at the preplan drill the other day.  What direction do think we should take on this?  We probably need to get code  involved in this as well.  At this time Capt. Cross and myself will be putting together a down and dirty plan in case we need to address and incident at the Metro road area.

Michael Farri
Battalion Chief
Alexandria Fire Department
Work xxx-xxx-xxxx
Cell    xxx-xxx-xxxx

----- Forwarded by Michael Farri/Alex on 11/23/2007 01:30 PM -----

          Michael Cross/Alex  

          11/19/2007 10:30 PM


Michael Farri/Alex@Alex


Jason Wehmeyer/Alex@Alex


Ethanol Transfer Station at the Piggy Back Railyard on Metro Road

During the 5001 Eisenhower Ave building familiarization drill this afternoon, the companies from Fairfax were talking about an ethanol transfer station that is being built in the CSX piggy back railyard off of Metro Road.  They said that rail cars of ethanol will be brought to this site in Alexandria, and the product off-loaded into tucks to be transported to the Newington fuel storage area.  According to the Fairfax group, this site will transfer fuel from rail cars for up to 40 tractor trailers per day.
It seems that they are aware of this development because it has an impact on Fairfax's service delivery in Newington and on the transportation corridor in Fairfax; and, they have been planning and training for this hazard.
If this development is actually happening, there are numerous operational issues that need to be addressed:
    • The water supply along Metro Rd is very limited.  The distance from the front gate of the rail yard to the end of the open paved space is about 3,000 feet with no hydrants on the property.  Plus, the closest hydrant is another 400 feet away at the entrance to the Metro parking lot
    • Ethanol burns as a true alcohol fire (no visible flame, no smoke), which needs additional awareness training.  It is highly flammable with a flammable range of 3.3% - 19%, vapor density is 1.03 (which is slightly heavier than air), the specific gravity in 0.8% (which will float on water)
    • Spills will quickly enter Backlick Run, which runs adjacent to the rail yard and abuts Cameron Station, then flows into Cameron Run to the Potomac River.  A large spill could send burning flammable liquids with an invisible flame and no smoke down the waterway next the Cameron Station, under Eisenhower Ave and the Beltway.
    • A major spill will require a significant amount of alcohol-resistant foam to be delivered to cover the spill to prevent a fire.  How much foam is needed to handle a spill from a rail car?  Where can we get this amount of foam?  How will we deliver this amount of foam.  Where do we get the water necessary to create the amount of foam needed?
    • What is the transportation corridor from moving the trucks from Alexandria to Newington?
    • What contingent plans has Fairfax made for handling an ethanol related incident?
    • How many rail cars of ethanol will be stored on the property at any time?
    • How much water is needed to cool a rail car of ethanol to prevent a BLEVE should there be a fire impinging on a rail car?
    • What evacuations would be necessary for a small, medium, large, or catastrophic release spill at this site?
    • What training, enhanced equipment or tools will we be acquiring to be able to be able to handle emergencies that could arise from having this facility in the City?
Michael Cross, Fire Captain
Fire Station 208 - C Shift
175 N. Paxton Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22304
FS208 - xxx-xxx-xxxx
Cell - xxx-xxx-xxxx
Email -

Attachment: Proposed Ethanol Offloading Facility at Norfolk Southern.doc
Description: MS-Word document