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Lipton Energy Approved for Storage of 60K Gallons of Propane
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
10:48AM / Thursday, January 14, 2021
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The City Council reviews Lipton Energy's application for propane storage.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lipton Energy was approved to amend an application to store inflammable fluids at 36 Industrial Drive at Tuesday's City Council meeting,

The purpose of this amendment was to change the fuel storage type on Lipton's existing land license from oil to propane. A land license is issued to a site for the storage of materials for fluids such as oil or propane storage.

Attorney Jeffrey Lynch of Lynch Scrimo Attorneys spoke on Lipton's behalf and explained that 36 Industrial Drive has been used for bulk storage of petroleum oil since the 1920s when Lipton was first involved with the site.

"We're certainly viewing this application as a repurposing of an old site and a vast improvement to what is there already," he said.

Lynch explained that the land has consistently been permitted for storage and is permitted as such in the current license that is valid through 2021. Industrial Drive already houses two bulk plants, one for petroleum storage by Lipton Energy and the other by Sweatland-Payless Oil, there is also a metal refinishing business and other heavy industrial uses on the street.

Currently, the site is permitted for the storage of 293, 530 gallons of oil. This application approved two above-ground tanks containing about 60,000 gallons of propane each, which is a significant reduction from the previous amount of oil being stored on the site.

In June, this project was approved by the building department and in November was approved by the Conservation Commission. Last week, the Community Development Board approved a special permit for Lipton Energy to place two new above-ground fuel storage tanks within the 10-year flood plain at 36 Industrial Drive with conditions including all lighting on the site to be downward cast and not trespass onto abutting properties and for Lipton Energy to provide screening in the form of a fence or vegetation so that abutters can't see the tanks.

"We see that with this application we have already progressed through various city offices," Lynch said.

Lipton's application will now go to the Fire Marshall's Office and to the building department for a building permit.

The tanks will be 14-feet high and 47-feet long with 11 feet in diameter. They will be painted white or a light head resistant color.

When not in operation, the facility will be fenced and locked. Normal operating times will be between about 7 AM and 5 PM, the facility will generally sit dormant and locked except when it receives a 10,000-gallon propane transport or when delivery vehicles enter the site to load their trucks.

Transportation unloads take about an hour and delivery trucks will be on the site for about 20 minutes at a time during normal business hours.

Some concerns that have come up from abutters in this meeting as well as previous meetings were about safety, aesthetics of the site, and disturbances to neighbors.

Bulk propane plants have multiple ways of shutting themselves down as well as many additional safeguards in place. Propane is a gas, meaning that when it meets the air it dissipates and should not cause fumes to trespass onto neighbor's property.

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