Expansion in the Works for Blue Racer Midstream at Kent
The regular monthly meeting of the Tyler County Local Emergency Planning Committee was held at the Tyler County senior center on July 8, 2019, where they heard from Larry Couch Safety and Emergency Response Coordinator for Blue Racer Midstream concerning the future growth of the plant. Couch presented those in attendance with an interesting short film showing the aerial view of the Kent location. He pointed out the loading facilities, storage tanks, offices and a good view of the rail yard and barge loading points. He also showed where the trucks are loaded along with the guard shack, parking areas, and entrance ways from Rt. 2. During his presentation he spoke about the company purchasing land on the east side of Route 2 along with several buildings and homes to make room for expansion.
Couch informed the group of the amount of propane, natural gas and gasoline that is processed, stored and shipped from the facility on a daily and monthly basis. According to Couch, safety for employees and the local residents is the number one priority. He said every precaution is taken to prevent accidents and injuries. The film gave a virtual tour of the plant including property recently acquired where they will be expanding. According to Couch, Route 2 will be moved from it’s present location when the new four lane expansion is complete which will free up even more room for the company.
The information was very helpful in understanding the changes that are taking place with industry in the area. It showed the pipelines running up and down the hill sides and into the plant, while also providing knowledge about what’s coming with future growth. Couch has a vast history of experience in safety and emergency response having spent 30 years in New Martinsville including time as fire chief.
In other business on Monday, Tom Cooper Director of Tyler County Emergency Management gave updates on several grants, including the completed Breathing air compressor grant. Cooper said the power cable for the compressor still needs hooked up to the trailer and they are going to buy the connection at Ace Hardware and try and get an electrician to wire it in. According to Cooper, the Search and Rescue training grant was received and has been completed. It was used to provide eight weeks of training and funded 109 students, 10 instructors, while including 2,000 hours of training at a cost of $23,000.
The LED Signs have been delayed as they are waiting on approval from FEMA to relocate the one in Sistersville near the Hospital. The signs will be located at entrances to Tyler County incluing one in Paden City. Another will be located at the High School at the entrance to TCHS. The grant was approved and the signs have been received and will soon be hooked up.
The Homeland Security grant for 2019 has been applided for, but not awarded yet. The grant applied for an inflatable boat and training funds which Cooper said is needed to provide search and rescue in shallow waters like the creeks where they can’t get to with the larger boat.
The SERC Grant of $1,500 was applied for and if awarded will be used to invest in electronics for the training room.
Armor up West Virginia was also discussed by Cooper. He said it’s a new program for first responders to aide them in their search for help from Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Armor up is designed to provide a resourse for public employees to speak confidentially with officer, former law enforcement officers, public safety professionals and/or mental healthcare providers who are familiar with their line of work. Included is what they call “Make a Safe Call Now” it’s a 24/7/365 number where help is provided for wounds not visible. Those needing help may call Armor up WV Northern Panhandle directly at 304-280-4965. People suffering from PTSD have many problems that aren’t visible, including trouble sleeping, exhaustion, flashbacks, lack of concentration, insecurity and the list goes on. Armor Up is a great program for those in need.
Cooper noted the training class for National Association of Search and Rescue and Fundamentals of Seach and Rescue has been provided recently for 14 students all of whom passed the class. Included in the class was K-9 training. He said there will be a field training class on July 13. He is also requesting a United States Coast Guard Boater Safety Class which he said is also offered online and can be googled at Boat Smart WV.
He said they are planning to do a exercise with Dominion and, later in the fall, one will be done with Momentive. Also a tabletop exercise will be scheduled with Sistersville General Hospital and Hospice. Wetzel County HealthCare has asked to participate as well.
Several projects are also in the works according to Cooper. He mentioned the Mass Casualty Trailer and said Antero and Momentive have expressed an interest in assisting with funding for the trailer. He mentioned the recent donation radiation detectors have been distributed to the local fire departments of Middlebourne, Alma, Shirley, Sistersville and Paden City. They were donated by former Mark West Company now Martathon. The radiation detectors were donated a couple months back as reported, but Cooper said he just wanted to let the group know they were distributed. He said radiation is often in trucks, but mostly in small amount. However it’s good for our first responders to have the detectors so they know if there is a leak. Cooper said it’s great to have partners like Mark West who can help us maintain the safety for everyone.
Cooper said the Ohio River Sweep event was successful despite the river conditions. He thanked Antero for helping and also Don Collins for his continued work on the event, noting Don has been involved with the cleanup for several years.
Breakfast for the meeting was sponsored by Blue Racer. The next regular meeting of the LEPC will be held on August 1. Meeting was adjourned.