Lift off for 80,000 pound Park Region bulk propane tank
By Louis Hoglund
Heavy metal and a pyrotechnical display of smoke and fire.
Rock concert at the Fargodome?
Just an unordinary couple days at the local cooperative.
“Fire in the sky” greeted kids on school buses and Monday morning motorists, as two large, controlled propane fires lit up the dawn landscape in Pelican Rapids.
The heavy metal is the 80,000-pound propane tank near the flaming light show.
Though the episode may fall under the category of “routine maintenance,” it was basically a first-time-ever for Pelican Rapids and the Park Region Co-op.
The immense propane tank at the Park Region retail and convenience store complex was installed in 1958. After nearly 70 years, it was time to replace the support structure on which the 30,000-gallon tank sits, explained Park Region General Manager Todd Schultz.
After pumping as much of the propane into trucks as possible, the excess propane had to be burned off, said Schultz.
The flames were visible most of the morning Oct. 16.
The empty tank was lifted by two cranes, and rested temporarily at the site, while the old support system was removed.
New, pre-cast supports were installed, and the cranes lifted the massive steel container back into place. The two supports holding the tank weigh about 20,000 pounds each, noted Schultz.
Interestingly, while the 1958 supports needed to be replaced—the tank itself may well be sitting right where it is in the year 2100.
“The tank could last forever… it’s all steel,” said Schultz, who suggested that they just don’t build them like they used to.