An ordinance prohibiting any more above-ground storage tanks for flammable liquids has been unanimously adopted by the Santa Fe Springs City Council. The ordinance is intended to prevent companies with underground tanks from placing them above ground to avoid new costly state regulations that require underground tanks to be double-lined and have a monitoring system. City officials feared a proliferation of above-ground tanks would pose a firefighting hazard.
The ordinance, which does not affect existing tanks, takes effect Nov. 24. The city currently has 313 above-ground tanks and 539 underground tanks, most of them belonging to oil and chemical companies.
Passage was voted despite a last-minute presentation by James Ebright, a representative of Ashland Chemical Co., who said the ordinance is not necessary because the chemical storage business is a safe industry. The company has been running a chemical distribution operation in the city for 25 years, and has 30 above-ground and 47 underground tanks that store petroleum and chemical solvents.
"Passing something like that (the grdinance) can be very detrimental to the economy of the city," he said, adding that there is a possibility the company cannot "stay and continue business as we have in this city." He estimated that it would cost $2 million to $3 million to relocate Ashland facilities, which are on 12 acres at 10505 Painter Ave.