Contributing Editors

Storage Facilities Being Transformed into Charitable Outlets

by John Stevens October 25, 2010 7:44 PM
The desire to donate to those less fortunate happens in different ways. Some people give to local food banks, others write checks to philanthropic organizations. But one woman in Merced, California, decided to use a storage facility to collect clothes and distribute them to the needy. [More]

New PA Self Storage Facility Compromises with Neighbors over Trees

by Tony Gonzalez September 21, 2010 11:26 PM
After having its opening delayed all through this spring and summer, Chester Heights Self Storage, of Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, has finally opened for business. But local residents still had a concern to raise -- the location of the trees that the facility was planting to serve as a buffer shield between the storage facility and their homes. Now the facility owner, Dominic Cappelli, and his neighbors have reached an agreement. Homeowners will mark the exact spots where they want the new trees to be planted. [More]

SC Marina Upgrades Boat Storage Facility in Slow Economy

by Winnie Hsiu November 4, 2009 11:31 AM
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10 years ago there were roughly 8,200 U.S. marinas; by 2002, there were 12,000 marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs, “dockominiums’, etc., including The Reserve Harbor Yacht Club (RHYC) in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, where significant facility upgrades were just announced, according to’s November 2 posting.

Situated on the portion of the Intercoastal Waterway known as the Waccamaw River, the RHYC is 20 miles north of Georgetown (SC), and boasts a full-service marina, open to both members and the public. Thanks to its recent upgrades, the marina now offers more than 200 slips in its 31,350 square-foot enclosed, dry storage facility, in addition to 50 wet slips (ranging from 25-75 feet), with access to power and water, gas and diesel, and a ship’s store. Just last month, 2 new pontoon boats (which can be rented for full or half-day excursions) were added to RHYC’s offering as well.

Full-service marinas, like the one at the RHYC, are highly profitable; in 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated marina revenues at $3.26 billion. [More]

EPA Reaches Pricey Settlement with MI-Based Usher Enterprises

by Winnie Hsiu November 1, 2009 4:23 PM
According to an October 30 posting on, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday reached a $700,000 settlement with Detroit-based Usher Enterprises Incorporated, over alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations (used oil) as outlined in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, at 2 different oil recycling operations. Those monies will be used toward upgrading the two facilities in question.

The facilities - one at 10585 Grand River Avenue, which stored 1 million gallons of used oil; the other site, at 8900 Roselawn Avenue, which had 50 storage tanks - will be getting new oil storage tanks, as well as improving secondary containment, and the testing and decontamination of older tanks.

The EPA inspected these 2 facilities because of their potentially detrimental effect on the Detroit River, an important nesting and feeding area for migratory birds.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal Federal law in the United States governing the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste. [More]

Is the Rio Grande Radioactive?

by Tony Gonzalez November 1, 2009 3:50 PM
The Manhattan Project was the codename for the U.S.-led project conducted during World War II to develop the first nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Birthed first as a small research project in 1939, the project research took place at over thirty sites, including the weapons research and design laboratory now known as Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Now, 60+ years later, what once seemed the ideal locale for storing the weaponry debris – a high, isolated plateau in New Mexico…not so much. Deadly waste is oozing from the now heavily-fractured mountain burial sites and trickling down to the Rio Grande’s edge toward aquifers, springs and streams which provide drinking water to a quarter million northern New Mexico residents.

Fortunately, contamination levels in the Rio Grande have not elicited public health warnings, although unsafe concentrations of organic compounds such as and various radioactive byproducts of nuclear fission have been detected, according to a November 1 post on [More]

Capturing Carbon in WV

by John Stevens November 1, 2009 3:31 PM
American Electric Power (AEP) and French partner Alstom commissioned a carbon capture and storage facility on Friday (October 30), at the West Virginia Mountaineer Power Plant in Mason County, according to AEP wisely used this auspicious occasion to promote the 3E- theme: Energy, Economy, and Environment.

Strategically located north of Charleston on the Ohio River, the 1,300-megawatt coal-fired plant is the world’s premier successful effort in integrating the combustion of fuel and the capture, compression and sequestration of carbon dioxide safely in the ground. Experts agree that this project plays a significant role in the study, development and implementation of technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to AEP, the project is able to capture and store about 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year – roughly 90% of the carbon dioxide from the flue gas sent through its chilled ammonia process.

With the United States Congress considering climate change legislation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adding regulations, many have said the continued use of coal for power generation hinges on the timely development of carbon capture and storage. [More]

Two Local Firms Collaborate on New Army Storage Facility in VA

by Kim Kilpatrick November 1, 2009 2:54 PM
In a positive effort to “keep things local”, 2 Williamsburg (VA) firms - Leebcor Services and Guernsey Triangle Architects – are joining forces to construct a new storage facility for the Army Transportation School at Fort Lee, according to an October 30 post on

The new 17,000-square-foot storage and training facility is expected to be complete in late 2010.

According to their website, Leebcor Services, LLC is an emerging leader in the federal design-build construction marketplace. Leebcor is a service-connected disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) providing the federal government a full range of construction services including: [More]

Olsen Brothers Owe Following Grain Storage Stalemate in WI

by Winnie Hsiu October 30, 2009 9:27 AM
According to a recent post on (Madison, Wisconsin’s online news source), one of the behemoth’s of Wisconsin’s corn market - Olsen Brothers Enterprises - violated multiple laws regulating construction site storm water and erosion control during construction of their huge grain storage facilities (each hold roughly1.5 million bushels of corn) in Belmont and Boscobel. And those violations are going to cost them almost $200,000, according to Lafayette County circuit court Judge William D. Johnston.

Businessman Paul E. Olsen and Olsen Brothers David and Luther (a state senator from Ripon), began building the storage facilities without permits, although they knew permits were required. According to the judge, they also failed to take required steps to prevent environmental harm and conduct necessary inspections. The Department of Natural Resources had warned the company to comply, but, Johnston said in his decision, the company's "history in these operations appears to be that they would make the business decision, go forward with the project, and accept the costs for violation of the permitting procedure as a cost of doing business."

An Olsen Brothers spokesman admitted there had been some technical violations of regulations, but that no environmental damage resulted. He claims in one case, the Olsen Brothers were told by its construction contractors that a permit was not required.

An attorney for a Berlin contractor argues the state cracked down too hard on the company with a $194,271.50 fine for environmental violations on the 2 construction projects. [More]

Back to Their Roots: Cargill Acquires Nebraska Grain Storage Facilities

by John Stevens October 30, 2009 8:50 AM
With a long, rich heritage dating back to its first grain storage facility on the American frontier in 1865, privately-held U.S. agribusiness leader, Cargill, Inc., has acquired the rights to the land and grain handling assets of the former Altra Nebraska LLC ethanol facility in Carleton (which closed in November, 2007) through a local bidding process completed on Wednesday, October 28, according to an October 29 posting on

"While we will have to make additional enhancements to the facility to make it fully operational, we are determined to leverage this opportunity to offer more flexibility to area crop producers in terms of the delivery, storage, handling and marketing of their grain," said Robert Racek, regional farm service group leader for Cargill AgHorizons.

Construction on the Altra facility began in 2006, and was approximately half complete when, in November 2007, all work ceased because the owners were unable to secure additional financing.

The facility is located on the outskirts of Carleton in Thayer County and one-half mile from the existing Cargill AgHorizons grain handling facility. [More]

Storage Facility near Fresno, CA Approved

by Holly Robinson October 30, 2009 8:18 AM
Yesterday, October 29, Gill Ranch Storage, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Natural Gas Company) received approval of its filing for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to build and operate an underground natural gas storage facility near Fresno, California’s fifth largest city. The new facility will be known as Gill Ranch Storage.

Fresno is located in the center of the wide San Joaquin Valley of Central California, roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles and 170 miles south of the state capital in Sacramento.

“This approval by the CPUC is a key milestone in development of the Gill Ranch Storage facility,” said GRS’s Project Development Director Charlie Stinson,

“Following some additional permit approvals, which are expected soon, we anticipate breaking ground at Gill Ranch before year-end, and to remain on schedule for an August 2010 in-service date,” added Stinson.

With an initial capacity of 20 billion cubic feet, the Gill Ranch Gas Storage project is being developed by GRS and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.) Both GRS and PG&E own portions of the overall project, holding undivided interests; GRS has 75% interest; PG&E with 25%, in the project’s initial development phase. [More]
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