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Equipping industry to meet new standards

Jennifer Obleman
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, October 03, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - New transportation regulations are barreling down the road and Midnight Sun Energy is hurrying to help Yellowknife companies meet the new standard.

 NNSL Photo/Graphic

Midnight Sun Energy co-owner Ivo Mitev, president Alex Hampson, and Kevin Haughton, operations manager with ARG Services, stand with a 640 litre double-walled travel tank. Midnight Sun Energy will be stocking an inventory of ARG's tanks, which are compliant with Transport Canada regulations that will come into effect 2010. - Jennifer Obleman/NNSL photo

Last week Midnight Sun Energy began stocking an inventory of double-walled fuel tanks, which are compliant with Transport Canada regulations stating that all single-walled tanks more than 99 gallons in size be replaced with double-walled tanks by 2010.

"We know the regulations are coming. With the mines and all of our other clients, safety and environmental compliance are at the forefront of their operations. People are really thinking about these issues now," said Midnight Sun Energy president Alex Hampson.

The business will stock at least 25 mobile tanks and six above-ground tanks supplied by the B.C.-based company ARG Services. ARG's mobile double-walled tanks range in size from 454 litres to 3,000 litres, while the above-ground double-walled tanks range from 1,364 litres to 120,000 litres.

Having an inventory on hand will allow Midnight Sun to provide a rapid turnaround and technical expertise to its customers at the local level, said Hampson.

"When we have it in stock they know what they're getting. It's not some mystery product they bought somewhere else," she said.

Midnight Sun Energy will market the tanks to a cross section of businesses, including utility companies, transportation companies, mining and exploration companies, the aviation industry, government vehicles, and private individuals.

One drilling company is already looking into buying a dozen tanks, Hampson said.

"I think there's going to be a big demand," she said.

Doing market research, Kevin Haughton, operations manager with ARG Services, found that the North has been slow to adopt the new standard, and very few companies are distributing double-walled tanks that meet the new federal regulations.

"Rarely a truck I see has got a double-walled tank in it. They're almost all single-walled tanks. We are, in conjunction with Midnight Sun, basically the trendsetters up here," he said.

Companies that don't switch over to Transport Canada approved double-walled tanks by 2010 must have their single-walled tanks tested every year by an accredited inspector, a service that may not be available locally.

With that expense adding up over time, it makes sense to buy a double-walled tank now, Haughton said, adding that the cost of the tanks is likely to increase when the new regulations come into effect in 2010.

But cost isn't the only reason to switch.

The double-walled tanks reduce the risk of spillage. If the inner wall breaches, the outer wall can fully hold the contents, plus an additional 10 per cent.

"They're the safest environmentally, if you will, on the market," said Haughton. "It seems almost cuckoo to drive around with a single-walled tank in this day and age, especially considering where we are. This place is environmentally sensitive, and we are all stewards of where we live. I compost, I recycle, I don't throw my gum out the window. This product is up to the same standard."