What's in massive storage tanks around city?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you've seen massive storage tanks around town, you may have wondered what's in them.

Some have been asking that in the wake of the storage tank leak in West Virginia that contaminated the water supply for tens of thousands of people.

One tank farm right by EverBank Field is just one of many in Jacksonville. They are inspected by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, but officials don't know exactly how many are in the city. The reason: They are not only looking at huge tanks but much smaller ones and storage sites throughout Jacksonville.

Linwood Berry and Jacquelyn Faulk live in the shadow of large aboveground storage tanks in the Tallyrand area. Jacquelyn has lived there all her life and remembers years ago she had to evacuate from her home because of a leak and fire.

But she still does not know much about the tanks.

Turns out there is something she can do. According to the Fire Department, all chemicals stored in tanks and inside local businesses are on file. It's called a tier two report. A request at fire headquarters can let you know what is next door. But it goes further than that.

Within our fire prevention division we have a designated Hazmat coordinator who goes and inspects each of these facilities and compares the tier two report form with what he finds," JFRD spokesman Tom Francis said.

In 2007, the Fire Department had to rely on that information when the T2 Laboratories, which made petroleum additives, exploded on the Northside, killing four people and injuring 14 others.

Francis said the department learned how important those inspections are from that blast.

"What they are looking for is everything from the type of chemical listed to the amounts and the actual facilities holding these chemicals," Francis said.

As for drinking water, JEA says it runs tests constantly, and the city's water comes from the Florida aquifer, which has less chance of accidental chemical contamination like the surface water in West Virginia.

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