Friends of Rocky Prairie    

PO Box 140
Tenino, WA  98589



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Friends of Rocky Prairie

Hazardous Materials

Picture of Port of Tacoma's acres of TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units)

Presently, the City of Olympia has a strict ordinance in place regulating the transport of specific hazardous materials, some of which are not allowed in the Olympia Port. Unless we adopt our own local ordinance regulating these materials, many could end up at the South Sound Logistics Center (SSLC).


The Nine Classes of Hazardous Materials* are:

Class 1 - Explosives

Class 2 - Compressed Gasses

Class 3 - Flammable Liquids

Class 4 - Flammable Solids

Class 5 - Oxidizers

Class 6 - Poisons

Class 7 - Radioactive Materials

Class 8 - Corrosive Liquids

Class 9 - Miscellaneous.

* There are hundreds of substances in each category, and containers stored at the proposed SSLC could have residue on them, or could leak, especially if they sat for an extended period of time.

Train transport of hazardous materials vs. trucks:

The following is taken from The Subcommittee on Railroads, Hearing on Current Issues In Rail Transportation of Hazardous Materials, July 26, 2006.

The Routing Requirements for Rail Hazmat Shipments: The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act regulatory structure was revised in 1991. Congress adopted an elaborate procedure for state and local governmental participation in regulating the routing of hazardous materials shipped by truck. [USC 5112] There is no comparable federal authority concerning routing of rail hazmat traffic. Nevertheless, there are a number of pending disputes, notably the current litigation between CSX Railroad and the District of Columbia, over local attempts to require the re-routing of rail hazmat shipments. A number of federal legislative proposals have also been introduced to ban the routing or parking of hazmat trains in urban areas.

Please review the Agreement, below, between the Port of Olympia and the City of Olympia, regarding transportation of hazardous substances within the City’s jurisdiction. The Ordinance was created, in part, to regulate shipments of dangerous materials coming into or through Olympia via the Port, be it road or rail.

Page 1 of MOU agreement for the shipping, storage, and handling of hazardous materials through the City of Olympia Page 2 of MOU agreement for the shipping, storage, and handling of hazardous materials through the City of Olympia

• There are clearly many dangers that the Port has not taken into consideration. This document may provide a template for our community to develop a similar Ordinance to be applied to the South Sound Logistics Center local and regional areas.

• It is clear that the highest level of professional training would be necessary for local and regional first responders, fire and emergency, to deal with matters of security and hazardous substances; it would require extensive funds for specialty supplies and gear, intensive training programs, community preparedness, additional personnel and administrative oversight, if it were done to the fullest extent of public safety in mind – as it should be.

The article below gives an idea of some of the substances that could be stored or transported to the SSLC from ships: The very real possibility of leaks, as well as, accountability issues pertaining to shipment contents.

Friday, July 25, 2003
Waterway spill mostly a scare
Container-ship leak in Tacoma sends 7 people briefly to hospital


TACOMA -- On its maiden voyage, the container ship touted as the largest in the world docked at the Port of Tacoma about 6 a.m. Thursday.

Soon after, the vessel and the Maersk Sealand terminal were cleared, the Sitcum Waterway was shut down by the Coast Guard, and news crews trained their camera lenses on Commencement Bay.

A chemical leak aboard the 1,154-foot Axel Maersk had sent seven people suffering from nausea, vomiting, respiratory problems and rapid heartbeats to area hospitals.

The ship's captain reported that the chemical could be sodium cyanide, triggering a rapid response from a Tacoma Fire Department hazardous-materials crew.

But by early afternoon, the hazardous-materials crew determined that the ship was safe, and the injured -- five of the ship's crew members and two longshore workers -- were released from hospitals.

The chemical leak was contained to the vessel and did not affect the waterway, said Chris Gleason, a spokeswoman for the Tacoma Fire Department.

Container ships carry everything from VCRs and produce to clothing and chemicals. The Axel Maersk, which can carry nearly 7,000 of the standard 20-foot-long containers -- those metal boxes that line either side of state Route 99 through Sodo -- was on its way to Japan. It had come from Los Angeles, according to Tom Boyd, Maersk's director of corporate communications.

More than 50 containers currently aboard the ship carry hazardous chemicals, Boyd said. The cargo must be stored in specific areas on the ship and requires additional documentation, he said.

"Everything shows these containers were in compliance," Boyd said. He would not say who owns the cargo, which originated in Los Angeles and was headed toward Asia.

It was just before 8:30 a.m. when workers about the Axel Maersk noticed a vapor coming from a container.
Hazardous-materials authorities were quickly on the scene and determined that the substance could not be sodium cyanide because that chemical does not evaporate, Gleason said.

Using the ship's manifest, investigators guessed that it might be aminoethylpiperazine, a corrosive chemical used in the manufacture of asphalt additives, corrosion inhibitors and epoxy curing agents, according to the Dow Chemical Co.'s Web site.

• The containers they are referring to in this article are the TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) that would be shipped by rail in and out of a SSLC facility. See picture at top of page.


Friends of Rocky Prairie
PO Box 140, Tenino, WA  98589

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