ILTA Members Take Environmental Protection Seriously
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Think Tank is the blog of the International Liquid Terminals Association that highlights the liquid terminal industry and its importance to the U.S. and world economy.


ILTA Members Take Environmental Protection Seriously
Cathy Landry
/ Categories: Blog

ILTA Members Take Environmental Protection Seriously

As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, it’s important for all of us to do our part to respect and safeguard the planet.  

ILTA members are engaged in industrial activities that allow us to use thousands of products that we need daily, but they work hard every day to protect the environment – the air, soil, nearby lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater and sensitive wildlife habitats.  

Diligent environmental protection is not only a regulatory issue; preventing both air emissions and liquid leaks (product loss) is also a critical business goal of all terminal companies, as well as a societal responsibility.  

Environmental stewardship is a central component of the compact ILTA members have with regulators and the community as part of their social license to operate. 

ILTA members take a plethora of steps every day to minimize the environmental risk of industrial activities. First off, ILTA members strictly adhere to federal, state, and local regulations, and many go beyond regulations. 

Another important part of environmental stewardship is safe operations. ILTA members routinely conduct tank inspections – both physical patrols and electronic monitoring – to ensure product is not escaping from tanks.  

Inspectors look for evidence of leaks, smell for odors that could indicate a leak. They also monitor inventory levels electronically at least daily. And they monitor liquid seals, ensuring they are tight and not leaking. 

ILTA members make it a central goal to ensure that product stays in its primary containment, whether the product is in liquid, solid or gas form. To achieve this, ILTA members conduct quarterly maintenance, continuous monitoring and periodic testing of vapor control units that include both vapor recovery units (VRUs) and vapor combustion units (VCUs).  

Vapor recovery is the process of capture and control of volatile organic compounds and toxic air pollutants generated during product loading operations (truck, marine and rail) and converting the captured vapor back into saleable product. Vapor combustion is the thermal destruction of VOCs and toxic air pollutants generated during product loading operations. 

Monitoring operations is extremely important not only for safety but as a tool to contain emissions. Engaging in vital monitoring, especially during “active operations,” such as product transfers into and out of tanks, ensure product movements are conducted safely and without incident.  

Many ILTA members are also looking at innovation to continuously improve the industry’s already strong environmental record. For example, some of our members are moving previous underground onsite utilities (like pipeline connections) above ground to allow for better, easier inspections.  

Other members are increasingly investing in modern aluminum cable-suspended internal floating roofs for their tanks. These roofs can reduce tank air emissions by as much as half compared with traditional aluminum floating roofs. Many are increasingly using recovery products to capture and reduce emissions. 

And some of our members have installed or are investigating installation of solar panels on their tanks to offset the facility’s own energy demand and even selling excess power to electric grids. 

These are just a few of the steps ILTA members and the liquid terminal industry employs to ensure environmental protection. We are committed to respecting and safeguarding the environment not only on Earth Day but all the year through. 

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