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nabtastic

spirit holding tanks - codes?

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Hi all,

We are looking to upgrade our spirit tanks and I can't tell if we need double walled tanks, exterior vents, etc.  I'm referencing NFPA 30 and UL-142.  We're talking about blending tanks and holding tanks in the 1000-1500 gallon range.  Is potable ethanol exempt from these?  Also, do you have recommendations for suppliers of these tanks if that is what I need? 

Cheers

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We can supply you with tanks with the UL listings needed for ethanol storage.  Beverage ethonal is not exempt and can not be stored in plastic.  You must store in stainless tanks with the correct UL listing.  Email me paul@distillery-equipment.com

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single wall tanks that are UL listed should meet your fire marshalls needs. For tanks that size either XP vacuum type exhaust or venting outside are both safe options to prevent the accumulation of flammable vapors

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This is what you need.  This is directly from NFPA 30.  Skolnik has what you need.  http://www.skolnik.com/

9.4.1* Only the following approved containers, intermediate bulk containers, and portable tanks shall be used for Class I, Class II, and Class IIIA liquids: (1) Metal containers, metal intermediate bulk containers, and metal portable tanks meeting the requirements of and containing products authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100–199, or by Part 6 of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

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My tanks are 250, 550 and 750 gallons and they are stackable.  They are rated for spirit storage and are stainless steel.  My pricing is much better than Skolniks per gallon and my tanks will store more ethanol in a much smaller space than the skolnik tanks.  

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Must admit some of this seems less than clear, and so I welcome comments on what TTB (at their booth) at ADI in Portland told us --  that common plastic IBC totes were approved for bulk storage, which of course is not what Thatch has quoted from NFPA 30 above, or what Paul from Affordable (also above) has said.   They (TTB) also said that the MAQ was 240 gallons per zone (with up to 4 zones/facility - each sprinklered and vented), though I have heard lower volumes quoted also.   Does NFPA 9.4.1 refer to storage or transportation?   Thanks in advance,

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1 hour ago, et1883 said:

common plastic IBC totes were approved for bulk storage, which of course is not what Thatch has quoted from NFPA 30 above, or what Paul from Affordable (also above) has said.

Plastic totes are only approved for transport but you can walk into most any distillery and see them stacked floor to ceiling.  If a fire were to break out they melt and help to fuel the fire.  There may be specialized totes that will not melt but common plastic IBC totes are a problem.  You need to consult with the AHJ (fire marshall) to see what he will allow.

 

1 hour ago, et1883 said:

They (TTB) also said that the MAQ was 240 gallons per zone (with up to 4 zones/facility - each sprinklered and vented)

This is not under TTB's jurisdiction, it is part of the building codes.  The 240 gallon number is correct but can be doubled when you store in the containers that are listed in NFPA 30.  Dalkita is a respected expert in this matter.  The link takes you to a .pdf that attempts to make sense of the various specs that are in play.   http://www.americancraftspirits.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Safety-Code-Breaking-Barrels.pdf.  If you wish to store in 55 gallon stainless, Skolnik's probably your best bet.  If you want larger, Paul will take care of you.

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Thanks, Thatch! 

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Perfect reading for the weekend!  Thanks again!

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Thanks for the replies everybody! I appreciate the plugs but unfortunately I don't need 55 gallon drums - I need 1000-1500 gallon conicals for storing/blending/proofing spirits.  

I'd like to ask a few more questions from above & this weekend's thrilling investigation of codes... 

- I think the MAQ is 120 but can be doubled to 240 gallons when an automatic sprinkler system is present.  This is for non UL tanks right?  UL tanks far exceed 240 gallon and are commonly held inside a building too.

- a single wall tank is acceptable if you have a drainage containment tank for the facility and automatic fire suppression?  The quotes for double walled tanks are literally double and I don't want to spend 60k on tanks.. 

- are XP vacuum vents used in conjunction with atmospheric venting or separate?  Also, are these typically supplied by the tank mfc or purchased separately?

Cheers

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Hi Nabtastic,

For what it's worth, we recently moved locations (new fire and building approvals), and we had to modify 13 stainless steel single wall tanks with pressure release vents and sealed lid gaskets and lever rings, even while stored in our H3 (fire rated room), to comply with the spirit of NFPA. Plastic IBC totes are not usable for us at all upon landing at our facility, and we have full automatic fire suppression throughout the building. The 240 MAQ is in force for us anywhere outside the H3 storage room, which means 240 gallons of alcohol on the floor for us at any time, and its assumed that all tanks and distilling equipment are UL rated. Tank sizes did not matter in our situation. We had a issue with open vs. closed system in terms of distillation, but were able to keep the 240 MAQ with the open system, but they did initially want us to install a closed system (distillation directly to tank) vs. the open parrot into tank with open alcohol in the building, and threatened to drop our MAQ to 120 during that negotiation.

Oh, and we had to install an explosion proof fan in the H3 storage room with a direct vent to outside of the building (through the roof), and had to install and use near ceiling exhaust fans in the building when distilling/pumping/bottling, etc. And the ethanol detection system...

Good luck with the upgrades, sounds exciting!

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Those who say this is not TTB's bailiwick are correct - sort of. 

When TTB says plastic totes are okay, it speaks only to what is within its jurisdiction, which in the case of the storage of distilled spirits, is established in the Internal Revenue Code.

Because jurisdiction springs only from the IRC, TTB's tank rules reflect revenue concerns.  I think that the rules -  as written as opposed to as enforced - go back to times when the DSP system was closed, i.e., to times of cap seals and government locks, when the proprietor was allowed no unsupervised access to spirits, until the spirits were first were gauged, in bulk, by a government employee, for tax determination.  Only then were they removed from government lock and key and turned over to the proprietor for rectification and bottling.   So, access to tanks had to be restricted.

Changes to the IRC, made in 1980, created the all in bond system under which you conduct operations today.  You now have unfettered access to the spirits on your premises.  Even so, today's rules would seem to exclude totes, for a variety of reasons, that include lack of attached means to gauge and the inability to lock them (visit Section 19.182 to see the full list of what is required). 

I suspect that the ubiquitous totes are a horse that got out of the barn, while TTB slept, and that TTB does not want to cause the hubbub and trouble that attempting to corral them now would cause.  I could, if required, argue a rationale, for purposes of a variance,  that would allow totes, either plastic or stainless, it does not matter,  with a capacity of more than 101 gallons.  But I suspect that they are now allowed, under a don't ask - don't tell policy, with which I chose to silently comply, out of fear of starting something that would cost me nothing and you guys a lot. 

It's been so far so good on the TTB front, but you may have difficulty constructing rationales that provide a way around the state and local safety issues - the picture above of melting totes spilling their contents further to fuel a fire.  I'd be a bit uneasy betting that don't ask don't tell could survive a possible avalanche of enforcement in the wake of such a blaze.   

Again, I think you listen to the experts – this is no place for amateurs like me – and then decide on what risks you want to take.  Perhaps ADI could, as a service to the industry that makes it’s “,com” business possible, contract with a consultant to produce a usable document, written in plain English, that explains it all in ways most can understand. 

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Nabtastic,

I can sell 1000 to 1500 gallon conical vessels for blending and proofing, but for ethanol storage I only have 55 gallon barrels and  stainless totes in sizes up to 750 gallons.  You could certainly stack 2 of the 750s one on top of the other which would make 1500 gallons. I have sold over 70 totes rated for ethonal storage, over the last 6 years.  More than 1/2 of them were used, but I am having a harder time sourcing the used ones since oil prices are going up. I am getting around the rules concerning volume restrictions on storage inside my distillery by storring in UL listed vessels outside the main distillery building in a 3 sided shed that has steel bars and a lock to protect the revenue.  I am not required to have sprinkler systems or anything like that in my distillery.  

 

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Southernhighlande makes an interesting point - nothing precludes you from having outside tanks.  You must include them on your registration (19.72 - Describe each building and outside tank that will be used for production, storage, and processing of spirits ...).  The security requirements (19.192(c) )are simple, "Outdoor tanks containing spirits, denatured spirits, or wine must be individually locked or locked within an enclosure when they are not in use."  I have had barrel storage approved in a roofed structure with two of the four sides made of chain link.  As always, past approval is no guarantee of future approval, but assuming that a shed with two chainlink sides is still approvable, I can't believe that one with four  chain link chain sides would not also be approved.  

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Thanks everybody.  I think for our purposes we'll have to store outside.  Paul - if we decide to go with totes, I'll message you. 

Cheers

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